Once upon a time…The school year had started. We had just completed week #2 of the semester. As I was chatting with several of the teachers to see how their class went and how they were feeling about it, an interesting pattern showed up. My son is a distraction in class!
My son is 14 and taking 3 classes at our Commonwealth this year. I didn’t speak to all of the teachers this week, but as it happened I did talk to at least one of the teachers in each classroom. After talking about the content and how they were feeling about that, I talked to them about discipline and management in the class. Each of them brought up the same thing, timidly and very kindly mentioned that my son and a good friend of his like to talk….:) :) Yes, it’s true, even though technically he is an introvert, he is still my son. He loves to talk. And this particular friend does too. Together they are a distraction!
What do you do when you are a leader in the school and it’s your kids that are causing the problem? Own it!
Just because you are a leader doesn’t mean your kids are perfect! Nobody’s kids are!
So I marched right home and sat him down and gave him a good talking to for embarrassing me and then grounded him for life!
Just kidding, I did talk to him though, while we were in the car… (It’s private and he can’t get away from me). I told him I was really glad that we were back in school and he was going to get to see his friends every week again. I know how important that is (they will be seeing each other in between school days too, this group is like that, the kids plan all kinds of stuff!). I asked him about how much time and energy he thought the teachers were putting into the class. We discussed the effort he is putting in, and the effort they are putting in, and how, when you put those things together, with a heavy dose of respect on both sides, that an amazing class is born. We talked about him missing instructions (btw - he did miss an assignment). I asked him to brainstorm some ideas of how to handle the fact that he wants to talk to his friends, and what to do when they want to talk. He came up with some pretty good ideas. We will see how things go. Will things improve? I hope so.
I also talked to the teachers about how to handle such disruptions. I gave them kudos and gratitude that they talked to me about it (as the mom). I want to know when there is something I need to address. My son needs to know that we are all a team, all three of us, me, him, and his teachers. I also brainstormed ideas with them. Turns out my son isn’t the only one. ;)
There are different discipline styles and I honored the different ideas each teacher came up with. Many decided they needed classroom rules at the beginning. Many wanted the kids to help create them. Some wanted to try being really consistent at the beginning so the kids can build good listening habits and learn to be respectful in the classroom. One teacher who has some really good experience with certain learning disabilities said she wanted to try the “go with the flow” approach. Surprise a particular youth with the fact that she would go with his flow of disruptive questions etc. So that he would know she was on his team but so that he could see the real outcome of what he was asking. Great ideas came from each of them. I will be staying in close contact with them to see how their ideas are panning out and help them make adjustments as needed. I didn’t agree with all of their ideas, but it is my job to honor them and to ask the right questions that will lead them to discovery. That can take some time. But if I follow up and continue to ask the right questions, progress will come.
The irony that the conversations started about my son is pretty funny! We all have some work to do!
Love you ladies for all the service you give! You are amazing!