I remember in my undergraduate program there was no such thing as punishing a child anymore. What we were taught was to give consequences. In life we all have choices to make and sometimes we do not make the best one. In the classroom this could be throwing something, talking while someone else is talking, or not following directions. While I do not expect perfection and solider like behavior I do expect students to be respectful of themselves, each other, and our environment so we can all learn and grow. When I see something that is not respectful I give a child a warning. He or she writes his or her agent number on the board, so when other people come into our room they have no idea what those numbers are. If a child chooses to do something again then he or she writes a letter home to a parent. The third time I speak to someone is a one way cruise ticket to the office. Today I gave myself a warning.
GASP! The teacher gave herself a warning? I had a conversation with a student and had told him how to spell a word wrong. I Googled it, and the child was right. I apologized to him and told him to give me a warning. In that instance I needed to listen better. I am modeling my own consequences using myself. It is important for students to see that a teacher can be wrong or make mistakes too. I think it is humbling for us all and helps us grow as a community of learners.
Tomorrow is a new day. All those warnings erased. Letters home will be signed and returned. We start each day here with a blank slate. Please know if your child comes home with a letter it is a consequence based of his or her choices. I suggest talking to him her about those choices and processing them with him or her. It warrants a conversation. Maybe even offer up a time where you did not make the best choice and there was a consequence. I am often reminded of a choice I made when I was in the 6th grade. I was annoyed about something and rather than go home and deal with it I kicked and screamed in the middle of the street. This may or may not be on a VHS tape somewhere. We all have our shining moments we would like to forget. I would definitely have given myself a warning for that. If I had to write a letter home about it then it is still sitting in my father’s file cabinet with all the other letters I wrote to him about my behavior and choices. Some of these are keepers! The best part was tomorrow was a new day!