At the back of the classroom, in the very corner, under the damp ceiling she quietly takes in her drab surroundings. Other children around her comprise of the Bully and his crowd of Followers. Followers, because they’d rather follow a bully around than be Followed and picked on by him. In the rows up ahead, right in the middle of the classroom sit the attention seekers, or the Narcissistic Nuisances of the class. Up further, the front rows seat the Nerds and Teacher’s Pets. Or Pet. Depending which teacher holds the stage. The seats in the sides and corners comprise of other loners, Nobodys. And here she sits, in her corner seat, just being a Nobody. Average grades, never picked on, passes unnoticed in the corridors.
Those people are just some of the basic stereotypes found in a classroom. They differ, of course from grade to grade. Older grades will have the jocks and popular kids on one side and everyone else on the other side. Classroom stereotypes are found even in classes as young as kindergarten, where the discrimination is done on the most primary part of a kid’s life – toys. Kids with the best looking toys, kids with mediocre toys and the kids with hand-me-downs.
Such categorization is mechanical; everybody accepts it, as they settle into their own niche. Like minded kids in the same groups, everybody has the herd mentality. You and me, we’re alike, we’ll hang out in the same cliques and do what everyone does. Classic example of herd mentality. They do what everyone around them is doing, behave alike and somehow even develop the same characteristics in the process, all without questioning it. Often crowds reinforce the behaviors that originally caused an individual to be labeled part of that crowd, which can positively or negatively influence the individual.
Although cliques are most commonly studied during adolescence and middle childhood, they exist in all age groups. To be a part of any crowd or clique is to be a part of a group. There is no individuality about it. Herd mentality restricts the thinking capabilities of children; they stop thinking outside the box. Since interactions are limited and inside their own circle of friends, most of them forget how to speak up for themselves and form new friendships.
Not to be a part of any group would leave only one option, to be a loner, a Nobody. Limited social interactions, this individual is usually intimidated by other people, preeminently by groups.
The moment you walk through the door of the classroom, all eyes turn to you, summing you up, scrutinizing your every move, working out which clique you belong in. You have to belong somewhere right? You can’t just go up to a crowd, and become a part without blinking an eyelid. That is everybody’s mindset. Their attitude either welcomes a stranger in, into their group, or repels them.
To be, or not to be a part of the classroom stereotypes, is the question, the answer to which, only you can give, if you clear your mind of the typical typecasting of people into categories or pigeonholes.