Friday, February 9, 2018

Behavior. Part II

Last week I posted a blog that dealt with relationships, conversations, and consequences (I even used the word punishments in my post). You can read it here, Behavior. Part I. There was a lot that I wanted to say in my initial post. I saved a little bit for this follow-up.

Start with watching this Michael Jordan Nike commercial from 2008, "Maybe It's My Fault." This has been stuck in my head for over a week, now. Maybe because I'm a 34 year-old-man who is still in love with his boyhood idol, but maybe because I can't stop thinking about how it relates to building relationships.

Maybe it's my fault?

Maybe be I led you to believe that building relationships was easy when it wasn't. Relationships are established over time; they are established through our daily interactions that we have with others. They have to happen authentically, naturally. You can't manufacture them.

My advice - Be You. We are all different so what works for one won't necessarily work for the other. There's no cookie cutter approach to behavior. It's never as simple as black and white; there is always gray, a lot of gray.

I should note, however, that earlier this morning I was turned-on to an idea that I agree with wholeheartedly. In-order to build the relationship, there is a pre-requisite. You must have the right mindset. You have to want to build the relationship. You have to believe in the relationship. Jennifer Hogan wrote about this in her recent blog, The #1 key for being a good teacher
So it's been a week since my original post on this topic. Student behavior didn't change? It was only one week. Your first have to change adult behavior before you change student behavior. And then...

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Big Game Bedtimes - #DadsAsPrincipals Super Bowl Edition

Full transparency. Sports are my first true love. As a father, it is important to me to pass on my love of sports to my children. My oldest is seven, and I think that it is safe to say that I am accomplishing this goal with him.

My son, Ryne, sleeping on the couch through Game 7
of the 2016 Wolrd Series between the Cubs and the Indians.
We have started a big game bedtime tradition (I think that this started when the Cubs were in the World Series in 2016) at our house. Summer, the weekend, a school night, it doesn’t matter; on the night of a big game, such as the Super Bowl, we void any standard bedtime. My kids can stay-up as late as they want IF they are willing to commit to watching the game (with me, of course).

Wide-eyed. You can bet that I woke him for that epic finish
and the Cubs first World Series Championship in 108 years.
My three-year-old daughter hasn’t been willing to commit, yet. But my seven-year-old, my son has. And it results in several great benefits: 1) he thinks that it is super cool that he doesn’t have a bedtime, 2) all of a sudden he’s paying more attention to the game, which results in increased interest in the game, 3) we are able to bond through the game and make lasting memories, plus 4) he typically falls asleep anyway, on the couch, mid-game (not usually much past his typical bedtime).

Sure enough, my son slept on the couch, next to me, as the final moments of Super Bowl LII played-out and the Philadelphia Eagles became Super Bowl Champions.

What’s your connection to the Super Bowl as a dad (or a parent) and/or as a principal (or educational leader)? We are challenging you to share your reflections, write a post, and share it using #DadsAsPrincipals. Help us grow together as dads and leaders!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Behavior. Part I

The other day, while I was out of the building for various meetings and professional learning, a lot of the conversations were geared toward behavior.

Via GiF Tenor

Behavior is a complicated thing, and it gets even more complicated when we automatically start thinking about related things like discipline, consequences, and...wait for it...punishments. It's difficult to find two people, let alone a team of people, who share the same philosophies regarding these things - what they are, what they aren't, why behavior happens, how to respond to it, etc.

Ask me to define discipline. This is the first thing that will come to my mind.

But I have my beliefs, we all have our beliefs - shaped by our experiences with our parents and as parents, the schools that we went to and the schools that we've worked at, the learning that we've done on our own and the learning that's been delivered to us, I could go on...there are a lot of things that lead us to our individual beliefs about behavior.

Kelley McCall, a Principal friend in Kansas, create the above image based off of a previous conversation we had

I don't know that conversations are greater than consequences. I think that conversations are consequences. I am partial to conversations as a consequence. Conversations humanize the person exhibiting the misbehavior, they build relationships with the person exhibiting the misbehavior (which will then hopefully reduce the potential for the misbehavior to continue and/or repeat), and they provide teaching opportunities in regards to the misbehavior.

I mentioned relationships in that last paragraph. They matter. A lot. Good luck having one of those conversations with someone who you don't already have a preexisting relationship with. Relationships are foundational.

Something else to consider when having those conversations after misbehavior is timing. There are appropriate times, and inappropriate times. The conversations will only be effective if they take place during the appropriate times. That means, they might have to wait until a child is a little more calm. You might need to do something to distract the child. Distraction is a go to tactic in these situations of misbehavior.

And then we teach. Again, and again we teach. (If a child doesn't know how to behave, we... (previous post, linked)). Behavior doesn't change instantaneously. Unfortunately, sometimes, it can take a really long time to change. However, in order to change the behavior, you don't punish it out of someone; you change behavior by repeated teaching, over time.

Stay-tuned for a follow-up post (Behavior. Part II), next week...