Friday, July 29, 2011

"I'm sorry, friends."

Sometimes, we fail. It's a part of life. But what we don't always do is share our failures with our chiquitines. Today, I learned to share them with mine.

When managing student behavior, it is essential to remain consistent--enforce a consequence every single time a rule is broken, and consistently follow your classroom management plan to the letter. Unfortunately, neither of those things is easy.

The other day, two students kept playing at recess after I blew the whistle, and we all had to wait for them to stop and come join us in line. When we got inside, I told them both that they had lost their recess for the next day. The moment I said it, the boy immediately turned and looked at the consequence chart. I was busted.

Not coming when called equates to not following directions (Rule #5 in our classroom) and the consequence is turning your colored card. It was actually my little girl's second violation of the day, so her consequence should have been a time-out (orange card), not losing her recess (red card).

I was feeling pretty bummed about breaking my own rules (who does that, right? right...), and I went home trying to figure out what to do about it. If I admit that I was wrong, will my students still respect me? How do I tell them? Should I tell them in front of the class? Will they just forget about it? All of these thoughts went around and around in my head. What I decided to do was this: I would address the issue in front of the class, admit that I was wrong, and enforce the correct consequence instead. Scary would they respond?

Not surprisingly, the next day, my students remembered what I had said about the two students losing their recess. I told them, in front of everyone, that I was aware that I had said that, and that that was wrong. I told them that I have to follow the classroom rules just like everyone else, and I should have told them to turn their cards, not just skipped straight to losing recess. So instead, they would experience the consequence that corresponded with their card color. The students all said okay, and we continued on with our day, them with a continued sense of consistency and the knowledge that their teacher is human, and me with my conscience and credibility intact.

Sorry, friends.

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