Boys, boys, boys. My new class is almost completely made up of boys, and those boys are ALL BOY. I am actually in my element with a class of mostly boys, probably because I was a tomboy growing up and I had three younger brothers. Still, the first thing I thought when I walked into this classroom was, “Wow, this classroom needs Conscious Discipline!” There were no higher thinking skills happening; everything was fight or flight and survival of the fittest.
The first thing I implemented was breathing techniques. I didn’t want the regular teacher to feel that I was overtaking her classroom or overstepping my bounds, but I knew that through proper implementation I could get the children breathing with no problem whatsoever. And did I ever! Within 24 hours I had those kids being S.T.A.R.s voluntarily! Every time there was an incident we were breathing. Any time it got loud we were breathing. I had one kid who took it upon himself to become a S.T.A.R. helper – without my even asking him to be one!
We haven’t worked on proper words very much yet, but I am working on making the children aware of how their actions affect the people around them. That is something that I know is lacking. Letting them know that the other teacher and I are here to keep them safe has helped. An amazing thing is that the other teacher started using the verbiage and methods that I have been using. I know that she usually uses these methods because she taught my older daughter years ago. I don’t know where those methods went with this group, but apparently they haven’t had a lot of consistency with anything. Hopefully that will change.
As it stands now, though, I’ve done too little too late. We will be implementing a reward system sometime in the next week because the problems are so bad in the classroom and the methods that I have implemented are not working fast enough for the parents who are getting tired of hearing that their children are getting beat up on by other kids (which is just about all of them). Since we will only have these children for a few more months, it may be okay. And it doesn’t mean that Conscious Discipline can’t work or be implemented also. But there is a lot that has to happen to make this classroom run more smoothly, something that I have been brainstorming and thinking about for a few days now.