Monday, August 6, 2012

Encouragement and Unity

I had the great opportunity to read chapter 2 of Conscious Discipline (Encouragement and Unity) during our family vacation a couple of weeks ago. Each time I read part of the book, or talk about CD with someone, I get energized all over again.

On to the chapter.

Principle #1: We are all in this together. Create class cooperation, not competition. Make sure my class is full of self-worth, dignity, importance and belonging. Remember--what I offer to others, I experience within myself. Our brains are pattern seeking. I posted our schedule last year, which I was planning on doing again this year. But I'm teaching first, I need to find some pictures. Loved the rituals we had last year (birthday was one of my favorites). Routines create predictability, and rituals are "the glue that hold the mosaic of love together" (page 61). Yep, there was a lot of love in the room. As I prepare my room this year, I want to do everything in the next 5 days in love. I want my room to overflow with love.

Principle #2: Contributing to the welfare of others builds self-worth. My class has meaningful jobs for everyone (door, kindness recorder, morning message writer, and more). This coming year I think having a service time every week. 30 minutes to do something nice for our school. I also commit to notice and comment when student's are contributing to the welfare of others. "You _______ , so ___________. That was _________. " "You got a bandaid for your friend, so she could feel better. That was kind/helpful."

Principle #3: How you "see" others defines who you are. My thoughts, judgements, complaints, joy, and love that I think I am giving to others--I am really giving to myself. My favorite quote from page 75: "Self-esteem is not earned through accomplishments, it is created each moment in how we "see" other people." It's a great big circle. When I send out love or frustration to my students, that is exactly what I get back.

Principle #4: We are all unique, not special. Do I want to be special or connected with others? How will I speak to my students that embraces their uniqueness, and creates unity with the class?

Principle #5: Some forms of praise can be discouraging. Effective praise relies on describing, not judging. How many times have I heard "Look at me swing (or any number of other verbs)." How often did I really look at them? Not nearly often enough. I see it in my own children. They want eye contact. They want me to SEE them. Definitely something that is quick and means so much. I must do it more often.

Principle #6: Children need encouragement especially when they have made "poor" choices. Encouragement = hope. People need hope to feel safe. Will my room have hope? Will it feel safe? What do I need to do in order that all the children feel hope while with me, and not despair?

My next steps:
1. Sincerely offer myself hope, love, joy and acceptance (in ALL things), so that I can also offer those to the littles and bigs with me.
2. Notice children often. During the first day of school notice every child at least once. The next day do the same. Repeat for the rest of the year. Bailey suggests noticing every child 10 times a day for the first 6 weeks of school. How close could I come to that?

I can feel the gear change. Life is getting busier. More time in my classroom. Friday will be my first official day back. I will be ready. I am excited about the possibilities for the year.
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1 comment:

  1. Rally like this post - especially we're all in this together - what a great concept to teach and unique, not special - everybody has something unique. Thanks for sharing your ideas!


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