It’s cool and drizzly today – it’s easy to feel introspective and calm on a day where nature is sleepy. Today, I found a quote that resonated with me – as I grow older and meet new people and situations throughout my life and career, it’s sometimes excruciatingly hard to stay centered and strong and to be the better person in our encounters. If I’m always following the rules and being kind, I don’t feel like I can – or have the chance to – win. Bad things can happen to good people, and that is just not fair – I work too hard at being a kind person to have karma occasionally backhand me.
Sometimes, this feeling can just be fixed with a hug or a good glass of wine. But sometimes, you just need Michelle Obama to back you up.
Today, I choose joy.
Happy Monday…or shall I say, happy that Monday is over? Our day at school had its ups and downs – we had the full moon at our backs, we’re wrapping up a 3-day weekend, and this is the week before spring break. Tonight, however, I’m choosing to focus on the joy we experienced today – my 4th graders rocked at the grand left and right in one of our folk songs and some of my students started using my break corner with great success. Plus, my students really enjoyed our shamrock improvisation activities! I’m realizing how important it is to put me as the human, not as the teacher, first and to focus on the positives.
Every day, I face students who thrive and students who need that extra boost, as well as students who make every direction and activity difficult, and I find that these kiddos cloud my thoughts in the midst of the joy I am trying to find. For a variety of reasons, students who are oppositional or defiant can turn our lessons upside down and wrench our control away in a heartbeat, and its so frustrating to not know how to help them (or not hand them the exact ammunition to pull you to pieces) and lose face with my students in an attempt to reckon with them. Today, I received an email from our school social worker with this intervention document attached, and I wanted to share it with you, because I spent the next half an hour memorizing it!
I’ve already used several of these tactics with some of my most difficult students, and I have found them to be incredibly effective. This document not only talks about why students are (and got to be) defiant, but it provides ways to navigate issues with students for when they say, “This is stupid,” “You can’t make me,” or try to push all of your buttons. What I also love is that it discusses how you can make things unintentionally worse and how to develop conversation tools to deepen your relationship with the child. This is a treasure trove – I hope it will help you like I think it will help me unlock some of my toughest students.