Monday, September 12, 2011


"Respect seems to be like a boomerang in the sense that you must send it out before it will come back to you."
-Author Unknown

We have a young man on our team this year who has had a less than ideal middle school experience. He's a good kid, but his impulsive nature and short attention span often gets him into trouble (sounds like most middle school boys, right?), and he has also been on the receiving end of bullying more times than most. I have helped him out of a few tough spots during the past year and I'd like to think we have a pretty good teacher-student relationship because of it. He's well-behaved in my classroom and he works hard. In return, I keep an eye on him.

I keep an eye out for all my students. My team has always worked hard to build a strong community among our students, and it shows. We rarely have cliques form and every student can – at the very least – tolerate working productively with anyone else on the team. Discipline issues are also a rarity in our classrooms. I always tell students that we look out for each other, and I mean it.

Recently, my school hired a new music teacher who also happens to be a friend of mine. On the first day of school, I dropped by her room to take a peak at her roster and I noticed she started the day with this boy in her class. Knowing his track record in off-team classes, I decided to beat him to the punch and talk to him before trouble brewed. I started the conversation by reminding him about how I always say I look out for my team. I then explained that I also look out for my friends and this teacher happens to be a friend of mine.

I didn't have to say anything else – he understood that I'd be all over him if he caused trouble. And you know what? He has been excellent so far.

Does this boy suddenly love music class? Doubt it. Has he learned to control his impulsive nature? Unlikely. Instead, his good behavior is a testament to his respect for me and his understanding of my expectations.


A Quick Note: If this post seemed like it was just me patting myself on the back, you're not far off. I recently joined Steve Hargadon's Teacher 2.0 experience on MightyBell and the first “experience” called for me to write about one thing I'm good at. For some reason, the situation with this student immediately popped into my head. If you would like to learn more about Hargadon's social assignments or perhaps want to join me, you can learn more about it here.

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