Thursday, January 19, 2012

behavioral balance

Today was another of my behavioral training days. I took on a leadership role in my school to tackle this initiative. My reasons were fairly selfish to start-- I wanted to make the case that I was a part of my main building, not just a stand alone offshoot, and I didn't want to listen to anyone else lead us through this quagmire.

Since then, I've come to realize I need to start a support group. "Hi, my name is rach, and I believe in PBIS..." For those of you not in the know, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports are a way to focus on identifying the positive behavior you want all your clientele to perform, and then teaching said behavior to everyone, and then and only then do you figure out which people can't be successful with said task and figure out how to change their experience.

As a parent, I've been opposed to this approach in our schools. "I don't want my kids getting a token for doing what they know is right". Since we're being honest here, this is still true. I'm very aware that behavioral programs that focus on the good kids doing what they should be doing can often turn those kids into targets of resentment. It's hard enough being the children of two teachers... but being 'perfect' children? Nope, I didn't want that on my conscious.

But as a teacher, and a colleague, I focus on positive behavior all the time. Thank you for checking in on a kid. Gold star for you! I love my job. You guys make me smile every time. I have pictures of kids at prom, of my grandstudents, of each of my graduates in my room. I mail home a good news card to at least one kid every week, highlighting something specific that they did right. I hang up every article I find of any of my students from the newspaper. I send a newsletter to any kid who has ever been in my classroom, no matter if it was for 4 hours or 4 years. Yea, I address the things they need to work on, but I also celebrate their successes. Constantly.

So how do I balance the two parts? Honestly, I'm not sure. I guess I keep my eye on the prize, which is to realize that while my kids are great kids, they still can learn more. And as a teacher, I can always do more to help my sunshines be better prepared for the social structure of the real world. It's always about learning... and about giving the other person the benefit of the doubt.

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