Today started off on a pleasant note. I felt like this was going to be a day of smooth sailing. I welcomed my morning class into the room and convened at a table with the children. I always plan a morning meeting where expectations for the class are expressed. My form of expressing expectations is always done on a positive note. I make a point to ask each child how their evening went before moving on to classroom business. As expectations are presented, I remind each child in the room that I have every confidence in them to make the right choice instead of the wrong choice.
I address the children with behavior issues with the same tone I address the others. We must always keep our unconscious perceptions of others in check hence the self fulfillment prophecy does not follow. A child will behave poorly if they know an educator expects them to. Cheering them on reminds the child that I believe in each and every one of them. I was extremely pleased at the amount of self-control a child with behavior issues was using. Any directions were met with a positive response. If I asked her to stop running, she did so.
At nine o’clock I lined the children up to go to the traditional classroom. I moved on to another classroom to assist and went about my day. At 2:45 I entered a classroom to find the class in a shambles. The teacher appeared as if she had been through a war. A little girl had busied herself by putting glue in the other children’s hair. I learned that the little girl had hit the teacher with a ruler and kicked another child in the nose. The teacher was telling me these war stories within the earshot of the mini offender and the child’s peers.
I couldn’t help to think how those negative comments exacerbated the child’s issues. I hold my tongue when observing other teachers as I do not wish to breed resentment between them and me. Resentment between educators trickles down to the children. Children sense the stress and their education suffers as a result of it. Upon taking the children back to my class for the afternoon we had an afternoon meeting. Some children immediately tattled on the other child with glee. One child told me that this child was the “baddest” child in the class that day. I immediately told the children to stop and listen to me. I reminded them all that I abhor the word bad. I reiterated the fact that no child is bad. We make mistakes and misbehave, but are never bad. The word bad is not allowed in my classroom. We may say that someone made the wrong choice instead of a good choice. We never use the word bad to describe someone. I told the children that the teacher had it under control. My intent here was to instill respect in the children towards the kindergarten teacher.
I wanted them to sense that she and I work as a team. If a child knows they can pit teachers against each other the educational experience will be ruined. I suggested that all the children worry about themselves versus taking joy in tattling on others. The children were all informed that they had hurt the offending girl’s feelings by publicly pointing out her problems. I demanded that they apologize to the little girl. They quickly did so in unison. When they realized that their words could hurt a peer they experienced remorse to some degree. The children were all reminded that everyone makes mistakes and misbehaves. I suggested that focusing on our own problems is a full-time job leaving us no time to worry about anyone else’s antics.
I took the offending child aside. Words were chosen carefully and positively. I explained to the child that I was shocked and appalled by her behavior. In reality I had seen it many times. The child was reminded that she was capable of making better choices than she had that day. My goal by using positive statements is to let the child know people believe in her and her capabilities. The child received an explanation of how her infractions had impacted others that day.
I demanded the same thing from her that I demanded from the others, an apology to her peers. I also had her apologize to the teacher for making it difficult for the other children to learn, and physically harming her teacher. She promptly did as she was told. I believe that explaining the reasoning behind rules goes a long way in terms of having the children appreciate why rules are a necessity.
Reflective teaching versus objective teaching can assist educators in the behavioral management realm. My favorite phrase is that a behavior never presents itself without a reason. Prevention, although not always doable always out ways remediation. Usually, the issue has exacerbated by the time remediation is warranted.
Have a great day:-0)
Mari N. M.Ed.