Well, Howard got in trouble.
He and another student, who rarely gets in trouble, decided at lunch the other day to twist ketchup packets so that they would explode out of both ends onto other students sitting at the lunch tables.
I was disappointed.
To say the least.
And I made it clear.
As a consequence, for the next two days they had to eat in a primary room and then head out to the lunch tables after everyone left to clean all the tables and sweep the floor.
If you're gonna make a mess, you're sure as heck gonna learn not to by cleaning up a mess.
Or everyone's messes.
I also talked to the other kid's mom when she arrived at dismissal.
She ASSURED me this wouldn't happen again.
And I believe her!
Nobody picks Howard up, so I told him that when he got home he needed to write his mom a note explaining what he had done, talk to mom and get the note signed.
I also said that if I didn't have the signed note the next day, I would be walking him home again but this time I would stay and talk to his mother.
Did I believe he would follow through?
Well, I wore sneakers the next day, if that's any indication.
I walked right up to Howard in my sneakers the next morning...
and he handed my a signed note.
HE DID IT!!!!!
He actually did it, and seeing that made me want to cry.
I swept him up in a big hug, gushing over how proud I was of him.
In the past, Howard would have run from his consequences.
This time, he owned them.
This is HUUUUGE for Howard!
I hope this is, in part, a product of all the effort my teaching partners and I have put into trying to convince him that there is nothing he can do that would make us not like him, that we will be fair, and that we are a safe place to land when he makes a mistake.
He beamed in the glow of all the praise. It was true pride that he felt because he made a good choice instead of following his old path of avoidance.
I hope we all try not to focus on the mistakes our Howards make. Our Howards are going to make ten an hour. Let's focus instead on how we respond to those kids. Respond to the kids, not the mistakes. They are, after all, just kids and now is the time for them to make mistakes.
I think it works.
Sunday, May 6, 2012