Saturday, May 2, 2015

Heart upon sleeve by Rebecca Davis

In a variety of conversations with my #leadwild friends, there has been an explosion of discussion about student behaviors. Perhaps, it's because it's the end of the year. Some educators shy away from the word discipline. I checked out the meaning of the word, discipline. Discipline comes from and Ancient Greek word, Paideia, meaning nurture and upbringing.

Discipline, or at least the word, brings up many childhood memories. Discipline means different things to different people. To me as a child, discipline was harsh, punitive. My teachers were losing their patience having to redirect an argumentative student over and over again. Getting sent to the office, was no more than a break for my teachers. I remember being an argumentative teen. My father and I were arguing over some arbitrary task or belief over dinner. My father warned me if I did not close my mouth, he would assign me standards to write, such as, I will learn to keep my mouth shut. It took a long time to learn that lesson, not standards, but to keep my mouth shut. Punitive. I ended up writing that standard for quite awhile. 5000 times.

I know this time of year, I am running day and night. I come home and I figuratively bring my teachers and students to my home reviewing the day to think about what could be done better. Did the time out in the office help Jeff re-group and get back to class successfully? Did Sally choose not to argue with her teacher when asked to finish math? I reflect on discipline as a way to nurture, to teach. How can I help my teachers and staff see discipline differently?

When I meet with students sent up to my office on a referral, it helps me to think of them as an individuals and find ways to nurture. I remember holding my son as a young parent. A nurse entered the room and told me that my boy was an individual, with his own personality and life. She reminded me that from now on I was wearing my heart on my sleeve. I reflect upon the idea of my son being an individual. As a school administrator, I'm encouraged to look at each child, the choices they make, their feelings, thoughts, and ideas and see a unique individual to nurture and guide. As my son who is 17 asserts his opinions, ideas and independence on me daily, I appreciate how students are growing and learning. It's part of the growth process. This week, I'm committed to finding ways to nurture and teach my students. The choices they make are their own, but I know I can influence and guide. I care enough to wear the hearts of many children upon my sleeve.

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