Day 93 (of 183) on detentions
had a conversation with a girl in my school who is struggling. But in my office we focus on problem solving – identifying what led to the need to be out of a classroom and what we need to fix to make things right. Essentially following a problem solving step plan (the art work was created by a fabulous school on the island and is connected to the school-wide capital nail tatie model we are using to re-create a code of conduct):
Our conversation centered around her wish to be suspended and expelled. When I mentioned that I prefer to help solve problems, she brought up how a principal in a neighbouring school “just gives detentions” (I know he does more than that). I asked how that helped – she said “it doesn’t”. When I asked how a suspension or expulsion would help out, again she admitted that it wouldn’t. (but she does wish another student or two would be expelled so that she wouldn’t have to deal with them……you know, the actual issue).
This made me reflect on another “issue” that has been brought up to me – and I’m debating whether or not it’s a weakness/area of growth: visual examples of what happens when bad behaviours occur. When I was a student, our school had the “cross hall of shame”: our school was an H set up and the middle part was where the “bad kids” stood with their nose to the walls. Even remember “the barracuda” (school secretary who showed her truer colours when my father became her ‘boss’) staring with her hands on her hips (and cigarette in her mouth but that may be an elaboration) just staring and slowly shaking her head….
Here’s the rub: I support the mindset that “we don’t talk about other kids discipline except for with those with direct connection” – so how does one “talk” that while “walking” using demonstrations of/for others? Even suspensions (for me to create time & space) are used infrequently – my bias: if it will change the behaviour, I support it. If it doesn’t….well, again always need to consider the person as well as the family as well as what is going on. It’s not the easiest way, but I’ve done the “McDonald’s discipline” (at that school we called it that because it was good discipline served quickly so that we could try to create/find time to….work on helping solve/fix the problem…)
Because of a detention is worth doing…..it’s worth doing (mindfully) well!