It all began with a robins nest on the fire escape by the library near the playground… Kids had been watching the nest for days through the library window. You see we used to watch real birds in real nests on real fire escapes in “real” real time instead of eagles, owls, and hummingbirds on the internet. Students spent days carefully Watching and waiting for the blue eggs to hatch.
Brian( the name has been changed to protect the guilty because I think he reads this blog) unfortunately decided it would be a good idea to take the eggs and break them on the playground (remember it was a different world 40 years ago). I have never seen a more thorough punishment than the anger delivered and the isolation he experienced at the hands of his classmates after his clearly unthinking act.
He was only eventually saved by the robin re-laying its eggs and eventually raising its young.
He was punished far out of proportion to his deeds and he was effectively punished by his peers much more so than anything I might ever have done. Peer pressure if properly handled and directed can be a positive rather than the negative it is almost always portrayed as. As adults we respond to and have to handle peer pressure every day in one way or another. Kids can learn how and when to apply it and how and when to learn from it if they are given the opportunity deliver it and receive it in a controlled environment. Hopefully if they are exposed to it early the will be at least partially vaccinated and learn how to handle it before it becomes more serious than three light blue eggs. (As an aside as the world changes to virtual reality, how many children today know that a Robin’s eggs are blue?)
In fact I believe that knowing what to ignore and when to ignore it is a foundational skill for any teacher, student or parent.