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The boys were all together on one side of the room, except a little boy named Neil who
came in late to class. Neil was on the opposite side of the room. One little boy, Jack, was
messing with his portable desk, playing with it in his hands and moving around. Miss Mills, the
Spanish teacher, told Jack to set the desk down. After being told this, Jack tossed his desk to
the side, and referred to himself as “boss!”
Then I looked over at Neil. He had noticed the scene with Jack, and then he
started throwing his desk to the side and playing with it. The teacher or the other students were
not paying attention to him. He continued to pick his desk up and toss it to the side. He would try
to throw it with more emphasis, making it crash more loudly, but the other people in the
classroom did not turn their attention to them.

● Annoyed with Jack
● Slightly annoyed with Neil
● Felt sorry for Neil

● Jack tried to look cool in front of his friends after being told what to do
● Jack used a common saying among children
● The teacher didn’t say anything to Jack
● Neil keeps trying to be louder to get attention
● Neil is failing at getting attention
● The teacher didn’t say anything to Neil
● The other students didn’t say anything to Neil

1. I assumed that Jack was trying to be cool in front of his friends by doing his own thing
when the teacher told him what to do. I also assumed that Neil wanted attention from his
classmates or the teacher, or simply to try to be cool like Jack. I was a little bit annoyed
that Neil was trying to get negative attention, but I also brushed off the annoyance as
Neil just being a kid.
2. This incident reminds me of when Grace started jumping as soon as she realized that
Cash was getting attention whenever he jumped. The case of Jack and Neil reminds me
of Erik Erikson’s fourth phase: industry vs. inferiority. In this phase, children gain self
esteem from their peer groups and they want to be accepted by their peers.
3. I think that my initial response comes from my background in being around children all
my life. I understand that children want to fit in, but as an adult it’s kind of frustrating
watching children copy each other’s behavior, especially if it’s negative, in order to get
attention. Based on Erikson’s theory, my assumption that Jack threw his desk in order to
seem cool seems plausible, because he wanted to be accepted by his fellow male
students. Also, my assumption that Neil threw his desk in order to get the same attention
as Jack seems plausible, too, because he wanted to be accepted by the other boys in
the room as well. However, I think I need to be more patient with Neil’s response. He
came in late to class, I believe because he was with a special education teacher, and he
was sitting on the opposite side of the room as the other boys. He probably just wanted
to be accepted by the other boys instead of feeling so segregated. This analysis has
taught me to consider the feelings and development level of every student. Something
might be annoying to me because I’m looking at it in retrospect, whereas a student finds
their action very important to help them fit in.