Today in class, we had a real life experience with trust.
We have impulsive boys. I know, shocking, right (we also have impulsive girls, so let it be🙂)? As with almost every year, I look at my class list, and there’s not a student there who hasn’t done something they later regret and it’s a learning experience. What did you do? How do you learn from it? Now, prove it.
Well, this little guy asked for a drink. We were in the midst of transitioning from one activity to another, and rather than repeat myself a second (or tenth) time, he was told no. I went to pass out a paper, turned around and this student was gone.
A quick “where did he go” led me to the hallway. He was on his way back from the drinking fountain. “Office, please.” The progress of facial expression from realization, shock, to panic should have been comical if it weren’t that I was so mad. He gathers his stuff asking if he could go to the recovery room, then to a different recovery room.
Later in the day, I asked our principal, should this be a behavior referral? I’m a second chance kind of guy, but dang, I have to be able to trust you. He was in agreement, it should be.
Our interventionist catches me at the end of the day, can I come down and talk with the student? He thought it would be a great joke since I’m a “teacher who would get this.”
He was in tears as I walked in, and the interventionist went over what she and the counselor talked about with him. I gave him my talk too.
I know you thought this was funny, but what would you expect if another student did this?
He couldn’t come to the referral but talked about how they’d be sent to the office to be talked to later. Good enough for me. I talked about the consequence of our actions and how we have that split second between the thought and the action to think “should I do this”, and to make the choice one way or the other.
I told him I loved having him in class and that his ideas and humor fit our classroom. But trust is hard to earn and quick to be gone. The trust between us had suffered a pretty good blow, and when Monday came, we started that healing process.
Trust is something earned, not given. Teachers have to be able to trust students to do the right thing and students have to be able to trust teachers to do the right thing. I’m an average teacher on a good day, but I work daily to instill that idea students can trust teachers to do the right thing, even when they aren’t. We don’t know the stories of our students and where they are coming from, so they should feel safe coming into our classroom.
However, when that trust is broken by a student, it changes the climate of the classroom. I’m already trying to figure out how to move forward because while I’m over the angry part of this incident, I’m not over the “what the heck” part.
And that’s hard for me to get over because that relationship, both with the student and class needs to rebuild.
Tonight, it’s about relaxing and making sure the house is clean. Tomorrow is another day, and after a good night’s sleep, we’ll consider what to do.
If you manage to read this far, thank you. Just “listening to me” makes it seem a little easier!