My Experience During My Grade School DaysAs a child, I was taught that each one of us has been gifted with distinct characteristics and talents that we can utilize however we wish. True enough, I noticed that since my days as an elementary student, there have been children who seemed more beautiful or handsome, more athletic, more intelligent, or more active than the others. These are the children who rose above the others and became identified as the “ popular kids,” while the children who were left unnoticed became known as “ unpopular kids.” In my case, when I was a still a kid, I was often seen as very active and playful. During the first grade, I always ran and play with the other kids my age. I often played hide and seek with my friends or kids who visited our neighborhood. I also watched television or played computer games with my friends. During school hours, I often mingled with my schoolmates.
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There were many times when I was called by my teacher because I was too noisy while she was discussing a lesson. My teacher almost sent me to detention due to my talkativeness. However, as time passed by, I was able to limit my talkativeness, and I became less of a sociable person because of that. When I was in my fourth grade, the same teacher asked me to talk to her after our class.
She told me that I have greatly changed. I never recited anymore, and she often found me spending time with children who were mostly quiet and reserved. Looking back, before the “ almost-first-time-in-detention” incident, I was really sociable and friendly. I could talk to other people easily without being conscious of myself. I did not have doubts or qualms speaking my mind to anyone. Even if I knew it was disrespectful to talk while the teacher is discussing or speaking, I felt that I just needed to speak my mind. Whenever I wanted to say something with regard to anything under the sun, I needed to ask someone or discuss my feelings about it. I never held back.
However, after that incident, I became reserved and very well mannered. During my elementary years, I was often an honor student. I was not the best student in my year, but I was one of the people who made it to the top list.
However, as I remember it, my ranking went downward instead of upward each year, but not to the extent that I would be regarded as one of lowest ranked in our year. Looking back, perhaps I was negatively affected by the way my teacher reprimanded me. Looking back on the friends I had during my grade school years, I was often grouped with the popular kids during my first to second grade, but when I was in my third and fourth grade, I started to hang out with the reserved kids who did not talk a lot. They were intelligent, and they excelled in class, but they were not truly sociable. In my fifth and sixth grade, I was grouped with the popular kids again. Upon reflecting on these changes, I realized that I frequently became friends with some kids from such group before I was able to be with their group. When I become really close with someone who happens to have his/her own set of friends, I attend their small get-togethers.
Before I knew it, I have already become a part of his/her group while slowly leaving the former group of friends that I was with. Although I became friends with different groups of people when I was younger, I often saw myself as a normal child who was not popular but not a loser. However, considering the friends I had and activities I participated in, it may appear that I was more of a popular child because I mingled with popular kids and I was often given attention by my teachers. In addition, I was often included in school programs, and I participated in some of our school plays. There were several popular children in our school before. As I remember, there were five of them, Aaron, Phoebe, Mary, John, and Lulu. As I recall, they were the most talked about people in the class.
Aaron was the heartthrob; every girl had a crush on him. There were times when I would see the girls giggling or their eyes twinkling whenever he was passing by. He was tall, and his eyes were very captivating.
Phoebe was the sociable one; she was friends with everyone, even those in other grades. She was very charismatic and nice. She became our class president because of her skills. Mary, on the other hand, was the most beautiful girl in the school.
It seemed that every boy would like to approach and talk to her. During Valentine’s Day, she received the most number of roses among the girls. Meanwhile, John was the bad boy; he was often fighting with anyone who crossed him. He was a rebel and often got in various brawls.
John was also the bully that almost everyone was afraid of. However, due to his good looks, he was also the apple of the girls’ eyes. Lulu, on the other hand, was the very sweet and cheerful child that everybody wanted to be with. She often laughed at jokes, even those that most of us did not find funny. She was the darling of the class as well as the teachers. She was also active in various activities and was often in the top ranks of the class. The most unpopular child in our school is very hard to remember. However, when I saw our class picture, I remembered a little boy named Christian.
He did not talk much, and he was often bullied by those who were bigger than him. He was also not excelling in school, and most of the time, the teacher called him before our classes were done. He did not mingle with anyone, and during breaks he sat on his chair and ate his food which was sometimes taken by the bullies. During group projects, he was often the one not being picked by the chosen leaders. I guess, whenever he was absent in class, no one really noticed his absence other than the time when the teacher called for our attendance. In the text, popular children were described as those who “ share several personality characteristics. They are usually helpful, cooperating with others on joint projects. Popular children are funny, tending to have good sense of humor and to appreciate others attempt at humor” (Feldman, Phillipot, & Custrini, 1991; Feldman, Tomasian & Coats, 1999; surname of the book’s author, year of publication, p.
#). Considering my experiences as a child, I observed that the text stays true to the reality of how popular children are. However, it did not take note of the fact that being good looking through the eyes of other children also causes popularity; which applies to the case of Aaron and Mary. The physical characteristics of a child also attract attention from other children. In the case of John, it is also true that boys tend to be violent and tough in order to be popular.
I noticed that there were boys during our time who were trying to imitate him or wanted to be like him. Some were triumphant in imitating his acts, yet he was still the most popular aggressive child during those times. On the other hand, the unpopular children, as stated by Alan Carr, are categorized into two types: “ the aggressive youngster and the victim.” In addition, the author stated that, “ victims tend to be sensitive, be anxious, have low self-esteem, and lack the skills required to defend themselves and establish dominance within the peer-group hierarchy” (Carr, 2005, p.
29). Consequently, Mujis and Reynolds (2005) argued that the unpopular child is the one who is not picked during group works or in games. Thus, in the case of Christian, he became an unpopular child because he did not have self-confidence and strength as far as his personality was concerned.
Hence, he was abused and taken advantage due to his passive attitude and lack of personality. John on the other hand is the aggressive youngster that bullies other children to show his physical capabilities to manipulate other weak children. In conclusion, the popular children, as stated by Feldman, Phillipot, Custrini, Tomasian and Coats, are those that are able to brighten up the room and give delight to those that are around them. Popular children are those that understand other people and do not take advantage of anyone. Thus, they make people appreciate themselves and see their good points differing to the popular child. Conversely, the unpopular child is determined in two distinctions such as: aggressive and the victim. The aggressive child as stated by Carr is trying to get the attention of other children through his or her aggressive action.
In addition to this, the child is also not capable of following instructions. Moreover, during play time, the child is not chosen by his classmates due to his or her tendency to lose a game. On the other hand, the victim is the one often bullied and abused by his classmates. Thus, it is important to hone a child’s skills and personalities in order to prevent him or her from becoming unpopular. Such a situation could be detrimental to the development of a child as he or she may carry into adulthood the traits that make him or her unpopular. Hence, the teachers and parents should help each other in developing a child’s personality and behavior. Going back to my childhood, I realized that I was a child who was honed by my parents and influenced by the people who I had interacted with.
I was able to acquire some of their attitudes and perspectives; therefore, I am the product of the lesson and experiences they have taught me. As a result, I became a person who is able to stand up for my rights and beliefs. ReferencesCarr, A. (2005).
The Handbook of Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology. New York: Routledge. Muijs, D., & Reynolds, D. (2005). Effective Teaching. California: Sage Publication.