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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Punish, Redirect, or Teach

When students misbehave, educators have a choice-the choice to punish, redirect, or teach.

As much as possible, I see the school landscape as an educational one. I expect students to misbehave and make mistakes from time to time. I see that behavior and mistake making as opportunities for greater teaching and learning.

I try to have a similar attitude with colleagues and others I work with. We're not perfect. We all make mistakes and from time to time act in ways unexpected or valued by others. This is what happens when people come together to learn and work collaboratively.

As I age, I become more empathetic and understanding. I recognize that while we all bring good intent, our intent sometimes outdistances our efforts since new learning and change takes time. In a sense, we are always playing catch-up with the wisdom of the world around us.

With the children, when they err, we'll mostly talk about it. Why did it happen? Do you know what could have happened in a case like this? How can I help you not to redo this act? How can I support your growth in this area?

With colleagues, I might tell a story related to making a similar error. Or if I'm the one that erred, I might listen to their wise words and think with them about how to do it better next time.

We do best to work with grace and care with one another. We do best to work together to develop our "collective genius" and will to serve our students and their families well.

My will often outpaces my acts--what I see and desire is often a distant star that I reach for with my writing, work, and thoughts. It's the light that leads. A light I'll follow.