Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nip It In the Bud

bud In Student Teaching Day 4 from Outside Looking In by Scott Shelhart, he talks about his experiences in student teaching and states,

“Another valuable tool for my toolbox; correct small issues before they become unmanageable.”

I realized that this applies to so much in my life.

This even applies to my car and how it runs. If I hear a small problem and I don’t fix it, it may cause bigger and costlier problems down the road.

Even with my health, sometimes I choose to ignore health problems that only get worse. My toothache has turned into an abscess tooth. My back pain has turned into a kidney infection. It is the little things that I ignore that cause me the most pain.

When I am knitting, any mistake I make early on that I don’t see or I choose to ignore, may make the final result lopsided. One tiny mistake can cause all sorts of havoc later on. It is much easier to knit something by fixing the mistake when it is a small issue. Maybe I’m also a perfectionist and if I know there is a problem, I need to fix it rather than just pretend it isn’t there.

This same thing applies in my classroom. If there is some misbehavior, I need to decide whether to ignore it or address it. Usually I try to ignore it for a couple of times. Once it continues though, it could become a habit for the student so I need to address it as soon as possible. I need to stop the misbehavior before it blooms and spreads more seeds. If I allow this misbehavior to continue, not only will this student get worse but other students will think that it is allowed and they will start acting this way.

I usually start out by talking to the student. Sometimes the student doesn’t realize the behavior occurs and how others may perceive it. Sometimes there is a reason behind the behavior and just by talking about it, the behavior will stop. I might be able to give the student some suggestions for alternate behavior to get the results to work. I explain that if the behavior continues, I will call home. This is not an empty threat but rather another alternative to arrive at a solution.

If it continues, I need to follow through with what I said and call home. If I don’t call home, then my words and actions are meaningless. I call the parents or guardians with the student right beside me. By having us all there while we discuss the problem keeps the story from changing later on due to different perspectives. I want us all to work as a team to help the student be successful. I am not trying to get the student in trouble but want us to work together to solve this problem.

Most important is that when I’m talking to the parents, I need to make sure that I can talk calmly and objectively. I need to make sure that I’m not taking the student’s behavior personally. Once I do that, I cannot help solve the problem and become part of the problem instead.

Let’s face it, the student will probably blame and accuse me of not being fair or picking on this student. This is just the nature of the beast (I mean student). I know that I am not being unfair or picking on this student so I need to get beyond this. I need to address the behavior and how to stop it.

I also need to look at my own actions though and see if there is any way that I can change how I respond to the misbehavior. My response may be reinforcement for this behavior and by changing how I respond can also change how the student acts.

I admit there are times that I don’t want to address it. There are even times I really don’t want to call the parents. Yet, I know that in order for me to be effective, I need to follow through. Following through is so important when dealing with misbehavior. It shows that I am consistent with what I say. If I don’t follow through with what I say, than anything I say becomes ineffective and useless.

Nipping misbehavior in the bud is important for helping a student be more successful, not just in the classroom, but also in life.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: '" To love someone is to see a miracle invisible to others. "' by: Parvin

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