Who has students that can't behave? Again, we all do. What do we do? Punish? That doesn't work. Verbally scold and berate a student? That is the single most commonly used, but least effective method for addressing undesirable behaviors (Albetro and Troutman, 2006). So what do we do? Throw our hands-up in exhaustion?
This is something that I've been thinking about, a lot, lately. I'd heard the words on the image before, but recently they've been coming-up more and more frequently in conversations at school and on Twitter and Voxer. It is a pretty powerful message.
We teach academics; we expect behaviors. That isn't really fair to a growing population of our students. We value academics more than the emotional needs of our students due to the pressures of testing our students. That doesn't really align with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.
It is crucial that we continuously revisit and reteach our expectations and procedures. We must practice patience and persistence. We have to be aware that ultimately it is the environment that we create that can and will change student behavior. And to steal a line from one of my favorite YouTube videos, "You can't expect a kid to change, you gotta touch his frickin' heart,"
We can't allow ourselves to become cynical; and this, unfortunately, is easy to do as there are land mines all around us. We have to remind ourselves as to why we got into the education field because as Todd Whitaker and Annette Breaux say in the The Ten-Minute In-Service, it is one of the "noblest and most influential professions on earth."
We have to find ways to remain positive. How do we do that? I don't know what works for everyone else, but I know what works for me. I try to surround myself with as many positive people as possible. I try to engage in meaningful conversations that enhance my learning via my professional learning networks (PLNs) on Twitter and Voxer. I try to take care of myself; I eat relatively healthy, I exercise regularly, I TRY to get an adequate amount of sleep, and I TRY to find work-life balance. These things are important, they mater.
Our frame of mind, our mindset is our greatest asset. It is something that we have the power to control every. single. day. There is no tool more powerful.