Every so often a student will get in trouble at school.
I know, I know… this comes as a shock to most of you. This is the dirty little secret of education. Students don’t always do exactly what they are told.
But wait, there’s more. You may want to sit down.
Students almost always know the difference between right and wrong. It’s true. I seldom run into a kid who doesn’t understand this concept.
Don’t get me wrong, they may not care but they know.
This knowledge of what is right certainly doesn’t stop them from testing the rules from time to time. Hopefully, this only happens occasionally (because the 1% who are chronic wear me out…)
And when these little bumps in the road happen, it’s okay. Kids are in school to learn. About math, science, social skills, being part of a team, appropriate behavior, and how much they can push the system before they get pushed back.
In my estimation, it is a good thing that students test the boundaries. This is how they learn. And they often pick up these valuable skills from others (sometimes they gain invaluable knowledge from the worst kid in your class… like don’t set the garbage can (or a freshman) on fire).
As educators, our job is to teach students these lessons along with a thousand more (it’s a big job, but it beats working for a living).
Our students need to learn these behaviors before we send them out in the real world.
Of course, while I believe in this, it would be nice if they didn’t test my limits late on Friday afternoon. Or Monday mornings. Or any day where I was up late the night before. Or especially during my lunch break.
Students will make mistakes and it is our job to correct them (consider it job security).
This part of the process never frustrates me.
I have found some of my most loyal students are the ones I have had to discipline in the past.
Once you get them through the process, they are better off for it. And they know it. They may not admit it, but they know it.
Now parents, they are a different story.
I particularly enjoy parents who want to take the blame for their child.
As in “It was my fault they were late. Punish me.” Or “They didn’t get their homework done because I had to go to (fill in the blank). You should give me the detention.”
My response is always the same. We aren’t here to teach parents a lesson.
Although once, just once, I think I would like to punish the parent.
Maybe a Saturday School, a suspension, or even an expulsion.
I truly believe this idea has some merit because just like with kids, you wouldn’t have to punish all the parents to make a point. Just a few.
Bad news travels fast.
And the rest of your parents would learn a valuable lesson.
A lesson they evidently didn’t learn when they went through school.