Thursday, December 15, 2016

I Had a Student Called to the Main Office, On Purpose

I Challenge You to Help Change a Mindset

Dear Readers,

I know what it is like to have people make assumptions about me, usually because they do not know me as well as they think they might. My 7th grade Language and Literature class and I have been having some serious conversations about judging people based on what they think they may know or heard.

One student in my class has made a proactive decision to make better choices. Unfortunately, he is associated with always being in trouble. Even more bothersome to me is he believes being asked to stay and talk with a teacher or being called to the office is, "Now what did I do?"

One day I asked him to stay after class and the conversation sounded like this....

Me: Can you stay back for a second? I wanted to tell you that you did a fantastic job reading today. I know you were nervous. (reading aloud a part in a play in class)
Student: Oh thank you! I thought I was in trouble.

I was reflecting after class yesterday, we were talking about the main office being associated with negative consequences, and did the following.....

Wrote his name on the front of an envelope with a note on the back saying, "____ I wanted you to know what it is like to be called down to the office for something positive, it is not always negative."

I then proceeded to put an anchor of appreciation inside that said.....

"I appreciate you because you took on an extra role in the play when someone was absent and helped me when I stumbled over words."

I asked the secretary to call him down about 15 minutes into class. When the phone rang I knew what it was, I hung up, made eye contact with him and made the motion to come here. He gave a heavy sigh and dragged himself out of the room.

A few minutes later he came back and mouthed a huge, "Thank you."

We have to flip the story for some of our students. I tell them all the time they are all good kids that sometimes make poor choices. They need to feel connected, cared for and believed in.

Close your eyes and picture a student you know who sounds like the child I described above. I challenge you to take a negative experience he or she may have and make it positive. How can you help change a mindset?