Tuesday, November 14, 2017

With a Grain of Salt

“Have you noticed yourself telling stories and jumping to conclusions? Maybe with student behaviors? Or colleagues? Are you retreating to silence or resorting to violence in your conversations?”

I must confess that I tend to jump to conclusions easily. I guess I watch too much TV!

Since I know this, I try not to do this when I get new students. I know that many people recommend that you read the student’s files before you meet them but I’m afraid that the observations of others might cloud my own judgement. I will read the files but I don’t feel like it is the best thing to do before I meet the student. I do this every time if the student doesn’t have a violent history which is usually shared with me verbally when the student arrives.).

Sometimes students clash with former teachers for different reasons. There may have been situations beyond the student’s control and now the student is in a different situation. Maybe the mixture of students was not a good one for the student. Maybe the student’s home situation was stressful.

So, when I meet the student I want them to know that they have a clean slate with me. That anything that happened in the past is in the past and we will move forward together. This is a fresh start for the student and I really want that student to succeed. Usually the student is wary about my words and it will take time for trust to build.

First impressions are important. Students can tell if I’m sincere which is why I don’t want to read what a former teacher has written about them. I let the student know this. I have no idea if the teacher thought the student was a problem or an angel. I want to see this for myself and the student has total control for this to happen. Students have such little control over many things and having this power really encourages them to do the right thing.

Opening the conversations is the most important thing. Rather than jumping to conclusions, I try to take everything with a grain of salt. I try to understand that there may be extenuating circumstances or that we may be seeing things from different perspectives. Nothing everything is in black and white.

I explain that mistakes and slip ups will happen but that is normal. Everyone has this happen to them. The most important thing is to be successful in achieving their goals and I am there to help all my students do that.

After spending time with the student, I will go look at the files. Sometimes I can see why the former teacher wrote what they did. Sometimes I see a totally different child and I would not have been able to do that if I had jumped to conclusions first.

Do you tend to jump to conclusions? If so, how do you deal with this? Please share.

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