Probably one of the most discouraging aspects of my calling are ‘undesirable behaviors’. Before my maternity leave I kept a pretty tight leash on my class of primary kids. There were rules. There were expectations. There were consequences.
Since my return, most of the rules and expectations have been forgotten, leaving behind ‘random’ consequences, when applied leave the kids feeling like they’re arbitrarily punished or being treated unfairly.
For the past few weeks I’ve been working to re-establish the rules and to bring order by banishing the kicking, hitting, name-calling, yelling, interrupting, shoving, pulling, pushing, hall-running, toy-playing, not-scriptures book reading, spitting and other barnyard behaviors that have cropped up again in my absence.
In addition, I’m embarking on a little social experiment to combat some of the negativity that’s seeped in. The tattle-telling, whining, sulking, over-sensitivity, and self-centeredness.
I’m implementing a little reward program and it probably will take no small amount of effort from the kids.. Good behavior earns stars for the class; earn enough stars and the class gets a reward. Here is where it gets a little tricky. It’s not just good behavior, but reporting the good behavior of others that earns stars. Yes children, I challenge you to not only behave well, but to notice the good behavior of others. I challenge you to take a moment to peek beyond the borders of the ‘Republic of ME’ and see how you fit in with the rest of the world. Yes children, it’s not all about you anymore.
In the past I’ve done the ticker method where each class starts with a certain number of stars, bad behavior eliminates stars, and the class collects any stars that remain. However, it seems that the children are already focusing so much on the negative, I don’t need to join in as well. Sure, the rules will still be enforced, but I won’t put an emphasis on poor behavior. It’ll take a little effort on my part too, to accentuate the positive even when poor behavior abounds.
I’m trying to cultivate a little consideration as well as a little gratitude in my little pupils; something that is sadly seriously lacking. Perhaps with a little optimism on my half, it’ll sprout into something like compassion and humanity. We can only hope.
Here’s to positive thinking! I’ll let you know how things go.