Friday, March 06, 2009

Oh My God, Not You!!

All week long, during the morning announcements we have been told that our "Skill of the Week" is making an apology. Apparently, to some, these announcements are little more than electronic noise piped into their rooms at 8:30.

Later in the morning, Mrs. F lined her kindergarteners up outside room 198 for theatre class as usual.

One of the boys who frequently exhibits anger issues and other behavioral problems, little Raffa, saw me emerge from the room and he exclaimed, "Oh my GOD! I don't want to SEE YOU ANYMORE!"

I watched Mrs. F. handle the situation. She knelt down to the boy's eye level and gently said to him, "Raffa, I am sorry you feel that way, but if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

What I thought would happen next was a skillful reminder of the skill of the week, and an opportunity to practice that skill. But no, that was it.

Since I am in fact a teacher at the school, and since we are frequently instructed that our job is to teach the behaviors we want to see in our children, I decided to do it myself. I knelt down, looked Raffa in the eye, and said, "It's okay that you feel that way, but what you said was out of line and hurtful. When we say something like that, we need to apologize."

He refused, and I said that was up to him, but he would not be allowed to play games with the rest of us until he "fixed" the mistake.

Eventually he did say he was sorry, and I praised him before the class for modeling the "skill of the week" so perfectly. Everybody gets mad and says bad things sometimes, we all agreed, but when we do, we have to "fix" it.

I wished Mrs. F. were there.

Apparently, there were no hard feelings. Later in the day, Raffa saw me in the hallway and I got a hug.

1 comment:

Pam said...

You go, Alg!! Great teaching moment!

Unfortunately, not every teacher plucks those moments and turns them into something memorable for the kids.