Last week we talked about how consistent accountability combined with a kindhearted nature results in a nicer, friendlier class.
They work together to rid your classroom of incivility and disrespect.
They turn what you thought and feared were most disagreeable students into the lovely people you wish them to be.
For many teachers, the change can be quite startling, even perplexing.
“My gosh, Joshua is so nice to me now. I never thought he could be so polite.”
But it’s nothing of the sort.
In fact, it’s highly predictable and steeped in human nature.
You see, students are accustomed to having anger and frustration attached to accountability. They’re used to teachers enforcing consequences with an air of revenge or reciprocity.
It may be subtle, but if it’s there, they pick up on it.
Which encourages them to deny responsibility for their misbehavior. It encourages them to argue and point the finger elsewhere.
It’s their own form of revenge.
It may seem wrong or absurd, or even immature, but it’s a normal response when the person enforcing the consequence does so with any level of relish or exasperation.
It’s a normal response when the teacher lectures, glares, or dresses them down.
Oh, the student may very well go to time-out without complaint, but inside they’ll be unrepentant.
If, however, they receive a consequence from someone they like and respect, and it’s given impersonally, then the response is quite different.
Typically, they’ll look down at their feet or stare off into the distance, lost in the thought of their own part in the disruption, transgression, or misbehavior.
They’ll accept and even agree with your consequence. They’ll take responsibility, naturally and without you having to say another word.
When a teacher is well-liked, they leave misbehaving students devoid of anything or anyone to blame but themselves.
They leave them with eyes clear enough and honest enough to see how their misbehavior affects others. They leave them humbled and determined not to make the same mistake again.
It changes them.
It flips their attitude from wanting to misbehave behind your back . . . to wanting to please you.
Your steady, day-after-day consistency, in both personality and commitment to accountability, has a transformational effect on students.
It proves to them that you walk the walk, that you got their back, that you care enough to protect their right to learn and enjoy school.
It proves to them that when you enforce a consequence, it’s done purely, and from a caring heart. It proves to them that you’re a leader worth following.
And this makes all the difference.
PS – We’re taking next week off for Thanksgiving, but will be back with a new article on December 5th. In the meantime, have a wonderful break with the ones you love.
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