So I thought it was just my 9 year-old who was doing this. I was stunned to discover that ALL kids are doing this! Ok, exaggeration…many. My husband and I both recalled that “when we were kids….” playing outside and making up games was what WE did. Now we are both shocked and disappointed that our “pride & joy” watched Youtube and decided that this was a past-time worth investing hours in perfecting!Riding to school today, my son and I talked about how he did not agree with his teacher who took away the class privileges of bringing a water bottle to class.
Being a teacher, I immediately a vision pops in my head of 22 water bottles being flipped on desks, floors, tables, next to laptops…you get it. I shared this thought with my son. He quickly told me that only “_______” flipped his bottle so the teacher said that he ruined it for the whole class.
Now my thoughts begin to swirl. My teacher vs. parent vs. coach battle begins. Reluctant to believe my son, but remembering a phrase that came out of my mouth when I was a teacher, “now no one can do it” was believable. Before this thought was completely digested my ADD kicked in and out came my coaching response.
What if, IF instead of outlawing something because of a student or two’s actions we try this technique:
Student, Johhny starts to flip his water bottle.
Teacher: Walks over to his desk (not a word to anyone) removes the water bottle and sits it on her/his desk. Continue teaching etc.
Student: If they respond (they usually don’t because you haven’t said anything so they don’t feel like they are necessarily in the spotlight)
Teacher: Ignore them. Don’t respond. They get the message. Then later, depending on the student, find a time to walk over indiscreetly telling the student that you will give them a 2nd chance, however if it happens again it will be for the day and so on.
By not announcing or broadcasting the child’s mistake to the class (you don’t have to because they are watching) you don’t create a stage for the student. You give them time to think about what they did. If they are impulsive you helped them acknowledge this then gave them time to think about it.
I know that most teachers hate to punish the entire class for 1 or 2 students—so don’t. The power of your “non-verbal” cues is more effective than you could ever imagine.
Give it a try and write to me and let me know how it goes (good or bad).