School has been in session for over a week, and it’s amazing to behold how fast children learn. Students are learning subjects, such as the continents in social studies, but they are also learning how they should act in the classroom.
Recently I was reading a Boundaries book by Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend, and I can sum up one section of what they were talking about through saying, “You get what you tolerate.” In this context they were talking about dating, but I’ve been thinking about it in regards to the classroom.
I’m noticing that students need affirmation and want to please adults who give them authentic praise, and we do get what we tolerate! If we let students be disrespectful, they well be.
My fellow teachers and I expect the students to listen to us the first time, we praise them when they do it, and if they choose not to listen, we don’t let them get away with it (through either correcting them or giving them a consequence for their actions). No one likes getting threatened or shouted at, and those actions do not foster lasting change. Lasting change comes from relationship.
I had thought it was just some people had more charisma and authority than others and could manage students better, but everyone can learn the skills of having high expectations, keeping people accountable for their actions, and giving positive reinforcement! It just takes having the courage to be consistent with your standards, confront negative behavior quickly, and knowing when to reward and encourage.
Yesterday a student that has had trouble keeping control of his body showed me how he was changing: Another student had forgot to bring a spoon in order to eat the meal her parents had sent. The boy offered the other student one of the spoons he had brought for himself. Seeing this action showed that this student was living up to higher expectations!