Why not just let it go?
What’s the harm?
After all, it’s the last day of school.
The textbooks are put away. Laptops are inventoried and stored until next year.
Tests have been taken, projects turned in, grades entered.
In a few short hours, your students will never again set foot in your classroom.
So why be a stickler?
As long as the behaviors are minor, what could be wrong with looking the other way?
Well, a lot.
The most important reason is because you made a promise. You said you would follow through every time a class rule was broken. So just for the sake of integrity, it’s worth doing.
But it’s also worth doing for the message you send to your students when you break your promise.
You see, when you fail to follow your classroom management plan through to the end, you’re telling them that it was all a sham, that you didn’t really mean what you said—not entirely anyway.
Which will give your students pause. It will create doubt whether you really are the person they thought you were. This can be profoundly disappointing to a group of students you’ve built deep trust and rapport with.
For many, their memory of you—the lessons you taught them and the truth and honor you displayed—will keep them afloat through difficult times in their life.
They’ll think of you when facing tough decisions and moral dilemmas. They’ll gain strength when considering what you would do when tempted to compromise their own integrity.
It is these very moments—the last day of school, a field trip, a class party—the moments that are so easy to let things slide, that define who you are as a teacher. They define whether you’re the real deal or merely a pretender.
But here’s the surprising truth:
It’s much easier to be consistent when you allow yourself zero wiggle room. Decisions become automatic. Doubt is removed. Stress is all but eliminated.
Following your plan based on how you feel or other outside factors has a way of developing into a major problem. It snowballs and gathers speed until you’re miles away from the teacher you want to be.
How you do anything is how you do everything.
By following your classroom management plan until the final bell, you’re proving to your students that the things you said, the life-lessons you taught, and the wisdom you imparted really was about them.
It wasn’t about you and just getting through the day. It wasn’t about looking good in front of your principal. It wasn’t even about your pride in doing a job well done.
It was about your care for them as people, who you’re sending out into the next phase of life more mature and more prepared than when they arrived at your door.
Fulfilling your promise to the end also makes you stronger.
It empowers your start for the next school year. It makes being the same calm and reliable teacher day after day an extension of who you are, and something you don’t have to work at.
So if you’re planning a party or special event, be sure and define what is and isn’t okay and then stick to your guns.
These moments that seem, at the time, so natural and so easy to look the other way are actually a wonderful opportunity.
They’re an opportunity to make the right choice and become not just another teacher . . .
But a leader whose example stays with students for the rest of their lives.
PS – The summer online course closes in three days (midnight PST on 6/6) and will unlikely be available again. Before enrolling, be sure to watch the video, look through the FAQs, and read this article.
The course is not for everyone. It is a no-nonsense short-cut to effective classroom management, nothing more.
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