We (schools and staff) must teach kids how to live in our world because, sadly, so much of theirs does not involve the need to recognize and take responsibility. 16 hours a day outside of classroom walls, students can post, snap, text, and tweet responses without having to explain themselves, and rarely are they held accountable. Adult-student relationships are no longer cemented in the minds of our kids- teachers have become partners and likes, and followers, out of touch observers, and often mirror images of reactive officials. Knowing all of this, and interacting with the youth of today doesn't change our expectations- instead it ignites our approach to create social emotional systems that focus on the goals and rights of each child.
Interventions and actions can't simply be a warning, a phone call, a lunch detention, a referral, and a “rinse and repeat stance.” We don't teach by saying, “here is what you will learn, you will learn it, your parents now know you will learn it, and if you don't learn it, I'm telling the principal.” We must incorporate mindfulness, intentional thought, peer mediation, restorative justice, and community conversation into our new social-emotional approach. It is not about saying, “you must follow these rules because I said so and your future job requires you to do this”…it is all about saying, “ we have created this together so we can learn how to live well in each moment and with each choice in our lives.” As all teachers know, behavior is a response to instruction, yet we cannot achieve success until we all celebrate a growth mindset for each of our kids. We are all responsible for what our students learn, we are all responsible for how they behave, and we owe it to everyone to manage with the right mindset.
6 Grade Academy Leader