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Thread: for those in education

  1. #1
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    for those in education

    I have been thinking a lot as I get ready for spring break with my colleague and then plan summer. I need to change the dynamic on our team. And that has me reflecting on my style of things like programming and behavior management. It is different than the 2 guys I work closely with.
    If I want to change things I need to be clear about why I do what I do first of all.

    One thing is that I don't have as many rules as these guys. I am also less likely to take away a toy or specific area because of a problem. It showed up last week when 2 girls were sitting in a chair together and B walked by and just said he didn't think that was allowed. What? There have been rules about tape and rules about homework time and rules about a lot of things that just seem petty. My attitude is that if we don't need a rule then don't have more of them, have principles and help the children learn. Is it safe? Is it taking care of our materials? Does it include others? And rules as we need them. You know those smart kids will always find a loophole anyway, principles help with that. Am I the only one that thinks fewer rules are a good way to go?

    The other thing that we need to work on before summer together is talking to the large group all together. When I started it was pretty negative. They had all the kids attention and then they waited a long time to be ready for the next activity. If the kids moved or talked then they made them sit longer. I was no impressed. I have been working with my assistant on this and several factors. First of all 2 minutes or less in talking to the kids in a large group, Second be prepared for the next activity so there is no waiting, third give clear instructions. Our colleague from the other site is doing better with this but still the tone is just on the harsh side overall. I would love to get rid of the word 'respect' and replace it with observations of actions. So instead of having them all quiet and the leader saying 'you need to show respect' , saying I need eyes on me, hands still and each person to raise their hand. There is just an icky feeling with telling the kids they need to show respect for me, a negative tone or unclear expectations, does anyone else have a feel for this.

    Okay open to feedback before I go into meetings with my team.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    I think having too many rules is a mistake. Yes when you have a group of kids waiting you need to hold their attention. I don’t like making them wait longer than necessary. It feels like punishment to me.

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    Well, I can’t help you, because where I work, we have one basic rule: we treat each other, our materials, and our space with respect.

    so, we might point out that it is disrespectful to talk over someone when they are talking, or it is disrespectful to keep your friend from hearing information they need. And it is always disrespectful to waste people’s time, so making kids “sit longer” as punishment would be completely not ok. In fact, I can’t think if an example of punishment. Except expulsion. We basically try to work with you until we can’t anymore. If you bring drugs (including alcohol or tobacco) into our building or create an environment that compromises someone’s safety, you have to leave.

    we have other rules, but they are specific and flexible - like, you can’t eat during pottery because food in the clay grows mold and clay in the food is unhealthy, and you aren’t going to get much done switching back and forth.

    but if you want to sit over here away from other people’s work and work on your tile sketch while you finish your lunch, go ahead. Then wash your hands, because food in the clay....

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    Wow, I love your ideas. So much clarity. What i got out of the use of the word "respect" was acknowledge authority. A principle is that everyone should be able to hear the presenter.

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I am not in education. I do not have anything to add to the OP’s situation.


    But in general yeah, I think the tendency for people in leadership is to want to make a whole bunch of rules. Well, those rules have to be carried out consistently if they are actually a rule.


    I am in the midst of Re-writing bylaws for a few organizations and this will probably go on for a couple of years. I think most of these sets of bylaws are very very specific, and that does not serve them well because they are essentially a group of rules and all the organizations break the rules almost every meeting. How is that helpful? It’s not.


    So, I am trying to broaden these bylaws so that they are NOT intensive toward the specific. If we truly want rules that the organization needs to follow, we can put them in a policy document that is easier to change. But one member has sent me many suggestions for bylaws changes that are amounting to yet more small rules to implement. This is not the direction that this organization should go. Also, this members suggestions are targeted to someone for who she has a vendetta, so that is ridiculois and frankly, embarrassing.

    Our organization does have a process for removing a member if need be so that is all we need we don’t need another process for another imagined transgression.
    Last edited by iris lilies; 3-18-19 at 5:27pm.

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    I appreciate this conversation. I am glad it relates to more than education also.

    CL I think that the way you are using respect is more like the way I am comfortable with. I would talk about how we need to respect materials and each other, it doesn't sound like the tone that I am concerned about. Not the judgey tone.

    I am so glad that other people understand my thing with too many rules! IL I am on a board now. Several of us were already working together in a tight knit group studying buddhism. We have added some new people so we reviewed the guidelines of how we work together. It is general guidelines, such as we start a meeting with personal check-ins, we can ask for a pause if we need to, and some things about how disagreements will be happened. As far as strict rules, we follow the guidelines of respect but work out the specifics as needed.

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    Be Safe, Be responsible, Be respectful.

    I love these “rules” because you can use them many ways. You can say, That’s not safe. Or, I’m wondering about the safety of that? or, Do you think that’s safe right here, right now?

    It helps kids think through their intentions and actions. Wall ball might be perfectly safe most of the time, but if 2 kindergartners wander through the court, it’s not safe for them, and the responsible thing to do is hold the play for a few moments until they have passed through the area.

    We have used these at several schools where I’ve taught. You can have wonderful conversations, even small group conversations, around the practice of these rules. And the upside of that is the kids don’t find them oppressive.

  8. #8
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    Zoe girl, when my dad was in high school, a teacher got angry at him for something and assigned him an essay on “respect”. Dad’s thesis statement was that respect has to be earned. When he turned it in, the teacher threw it in the trash can without looking at it. Validating my father’s contempt for him and missing a great learning opportunity. I think your coworkers might be using the same version of “respect” - the kind that only goes in one direction and has to be earned but is too often demanded.

    if I assigned an essay like that, the kid would complain to my boss, my boss would call me in and ask me to justify it, and then, depending on wether or not I could justify it, I would either be asked to retract the assignment, or my boss would meet with both of us to facilitate a discussion to help the student understand why the assignment was to be done.

    if I threw it out without reading it, there would be a discussion with just me to help me understand why I might not be a good fit for our program and how I could change.

    mschrisgo2, I love your rules!

    we do have some teachers who write specific rules with their classes each year for that class. I like that approach too.

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    The police chief in Bangor, Maine, has a Facebook page that I sometime read. His posts generally end with:

    Keep your hands to yourself, leave other people's things alone, and be kind to one another.

    Three rules that cover a lot of human behavior.

    I think if you have a lot of specific rules, especially when dealing with younger children, it is hard for the children to remember them all! And then there's the classic, "Well, there isn't a rule that says I can't stab Robbie in the hand with a pencil," which leads to the creation of yet another rule.

    I think guidelines are better. Here, in this space, we are kind to one another. We don't say mean things. We ask for things we want.

    My grandmother was a kindergarten teacher. She could bring a class of five-year-olds to attention by playing a chord on the piano. The kids knew when they heard that sound, they were supposed to stop what they were doing and pay attention to their teacher. The kids also had times when they could run around on the playground, and times when they could take any book they wanted and read/look at the pictures. (Never forget the value of a structured day for small children--that can help eliminate some of the "rules" because the kids know what to do when and what is expected of them during that time.)

  10. #10
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    I love it all, CL that is exactly it. Telling kids they need to respect adults without making it a group norm that everyone follows is going to backfire and feel like lecturing. I used respect in talking to the kids yesterday, a child was asking a question and others were starting to talk so I asked them to show respect to the speaker. That demonstrates that respect is demonstrated by everyone, and not talking over each other is not just a rule for kids but for everyone.

    I thought of my last boss and the issue of misunderstanding the meaning of a word. He said he respected me a few times, and especially when I turned in my notice. I have no idea what his definition is. He often talked much longer than we had scheduled time, and for me that is not respect. At least to stop and show that you know the scheduled time was up and come to an agreement of what to do next. I think he felt deeply disrespected because I had to leave a couple times, like really had a conflict that he was aware of but I think he still thought I would stay and talk. It would have been easier to talk about specifics such as a way to deal with meeting times when we have not finished what needed to be handled.

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