Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Workshop on Behaviours in Secondary Schools

I went to a workshop on secondary school students and management of behaviours. I cannot say I was impressed. The gentleman giving the workshop and I have totally different approaches. I am, I guess what he would call a 'rule Nazi' and he is into being friendly and casual with students. We do agree on some points however, like no handing out of personal mobile numbers or allowing students to 'friend' you on FaceBook.
I have one main rule in the classroom and that is 1. > 10. Follow the teacher's instructions. We usually discuss it on the first day and do a quick brainstorm on expectations for the class room with a flow chart for consequences both positive and negative with student input.
He was right in the way the classroom rules were set up, but I did not like his attitude. Students need boundary s and feel more secure with structure in the way the lesson progresses and also consistent and fair rules, but they also need interesting and engaging work to involve them. Positive reinforcement and praise he hardly mentioned and also he backpedaled from something thrown at him by a young male teacher who was obviously undermined. He steered in a cowardly fashion away from criticizing the principal who bought back into the classroom, a boy who had been quite violently physically towards this teacher.
That is where I have a problem. I think constructive criticism of peers (not in front of students as was done to me by my so called HT when she did not have the full story) should be par for course.You do not bring a violent or badly behaved student back into a classroom. If you are a principal, he is obviously in your domain for a reason, that reason being that a higher authority and an investigation is needed to deal with the boy's behaviour. Throwing him back into the classroom disrespects the authority of the teacher who sent him to you in the first place and please hear the teacher's side of the story. There usually is more to the story.
Give teachers credibility and credit for commonsense. Yes, I know there are teachers who are stupid and use their phones to make soft core porn of their marital life and bring it to work or teachers who are over friendly with students, BUT that is NOT all of us and for every DUM DUM who behaves badly and it gets into the media, there are thousands of decent, caring and compassionate individuals who are teachers and work their ass off in schools to educate kids for the future, theirs, yours and ours. We need to ensure that our kids have the correct values systems in place, before they hit the streets of life running after we finish with them in the school system. They need to be resourceful, responsible and respectful young adults with healthy self esteem that allows them to be respected by others, happy and able to trust. I have found that the best young people have the ability to be friends with people younger than them, they can be nurturing and allow themselves to be nurtured and mentored by older adults as well as their peers. We all have something to learn from others. I learn from my son things that I had forgotten from my childhood. We needed to have known then what we know now and it gets harder as you get older to understand yourself and how you acted at an earlier time.  Does that make sense, probably not. It is late so off to meditate and go to sleep.

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