October 11, 2017

Showing Grace in the Classroom

Being a mom has completely made me look back at my teaching career, before kids, and question my classroom management decisions. Homework policies, losing recess, reactions to kids forgetting materials, and so much more. I was a forgiving teacher and I know my students loved being in my class but I definitely had students forget homework and did what most of the teachers were doing in my grade, made them lose some of their recess and complete it. Some may still think that is the best way to teach responsibility; however, there are so many other ways. I think teaching and showing our students grace may be equally as important.

Some of you probably are saying right now that they need consequences...I totally get that but step back for a second and let me share with you a story about my first grade son. Well, my son came home today and said, "Mom, I forgot to do my math." Immediately my heart sank and I said, "Oh no, did you lose your recess?" He told me he didn't and that his teacher just said to do it tonight. His teacher wrote me a nice little reminder note in his daily notebook. What his teacher did not know is that my kids were out way past bedtime, at a football game until 9, watching their cousin play football. They also have their cousins over for the rest of the week while their mom is out of town. Our household is a bit hectic/full of love right now. I almost cried when I read the note (basically because I was exhausted) and quickly responded to her the situation and thanked her for showing Jaxon grace. What would you do in this situation?

What is grace and how do we use it in our classrooms? Grace is the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful. Isn't this what we want our students to show on a daily basis? Students are going to be able to show grace more so when we are leading by example. Does this mean let everything go in the classroom and just show grace to all, every day, all the time? Absolutely not, of course we have situations that need addressed with a stern consequence. However, in those moments we can show grace by our actions and how we handle each situation.




Here are some questions to ask yourself when thinking about showing grace through your consequences. Oh I really like the sound of that...grace through your consequences.

1. What is best for your students? This is by far the first question we always ask ourselves daily. Maybe we have had a student that has been bullying most of the year and we have shown grace until we are blue in the face and nothing is working. By all means the best for this student may be a more strict consequence. What is best for one student is not always going to be best for another. You may have a student that has forgotten their homework for weeks. Have you called home? Maybe doing homework at school is the best for that student. Do what is best for the students.

2. Does the student understand the rules? At the beginning of the year you are establishing the rules of the classroom. Of course you are showing grace while they are learning. We don't want our students to think they can get away with everything and run the classroom. There is a fine line of showing grace and enforcing the rules. We have our rules in our classroom to keep everyone safe and learning. If a rule is broken you are showing grace by choosing a consequence in the best interest of the student.

3. What is your goal or motivation? Are you choosing a consequence that is best for you or the student? What is your goal or motivation behind the consequence. Is it the end of the day and you have had one of those days where things just aren't falling into place? You see out of the corner of your eye a student pushes in line and you get angry and tell them to go to the back of the line. These are the moments I challenge you to step back and check your goal and motivation.

4. What do I want them to gain from this learning? We have all been there. A student is not understanding and we have taught the skill five times. Count to ten and show grace. It might just take one more time before the light bulb comes on and they get it. You are not only teaching your students about grace you are showing that making mistakes is okay.

This is hard and I am challenged with it daily. It is a work in progress. Showing grace can be hard in the midst of chaos.
I'll leave you with this question: How are you showing grace in your classroom?


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