“Action is the foundational key to all success.”
– Pablo Picasso
One thing I have discovered as I have progressed in the field of education is the necessity and value of celebrating the success I encounter in my efforts to teach, influence and inspire learning. Too often time is spent and invested in talking about and venting to others about what’s wrong, who’s not cooperating and the frustration I feel from the progress that’s not being made. In all that is wrong along with every student that is not cooperating and the frustration that comes from all of that, is there anything I can look at and celebrate? What is right? Are there any students who are cooperating? What do I feel good about when I step back and look from a perspective other than the one that makes me feel frustrated?
Since August, have I made any progress with my students in what I am seeking to do to in my classroom? Have any students begun to transition from a place of inactivity and insufficiency to a place where they are engaged and productive? The students who are challenging, difficult and demonstrative in a negative manner consistently, have any of them begun to demonstrate mastery of self-efficacy, even if by baby-steps, that communicates to me that there’s hope for both them and myself as summer draws closer!
Is there a glimmer of evidence that should cause me to restrain my desire to complain and refrain from a posture of a crystallized negative attitude that reinforces and enables the manifestation of behaviors that reinforce my frustration in a cyclical refrain of AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Teaching has taught me that to the degree that students persist in choosing inappropriate behaviors I must persist in corrective, supportive and preventive strategies that exceed their drive and determination to misbehave. My success in taking the appropriate actions consistently is fueled by my motivation to succeed in instilling within my students my desire for them to grow in and master the principles of self-efficacy.
I communicate to my students now, ‘I don’t want to be responsible for you remaining seated in the classroom. I need you to take responsibility for that, because I want to teach.’ To another class (6th grade), I stated, ‘Look at the number of students who I have with me for lunch detention. If I have to be responsible for you in the classroom, then this will be the result. You will have to remain with me for lunch detention, because I am responsible for too many of you during class. I need you to take responsibility for what you’re doing in the classroom and cooperate.’ Every week in March leading up to Spring Break I consistently expressed my desire for my students to cooperate. I placed the names of students who cooperated on the chalkboard for everyone to see for recognition and I rewarded those who were consistent daily demonstrating cooperation.
The week leading into Spring Break I had a student who walked out of my classroom, refused to comply to simple request (remain seated, complete writing assignment for misconduct, etc.) and became demonstrative in his expression of non-compliance verbally. I kept record of each infraction, referred him to security and contacted his parent and, for a moment, the behaviors escalated. After referring him to his administrator, he later asked to speak to me sincerely, so I invited him outside my classroom where he apologized for his progression of misconduct. I reminded him of the necessity of demonstrating cooperation and expressed appreciation for his apology. I celebrate the success I’ve achieved by employing Cooperative Discipline strategies that empower me in my efforts to empower my students to demonstrate self-efficacy.
May God bless you and help you to employ wisdom, love and patience as you continue to strive in your efforts to teach, influence and inspire learning.