Sunday, 28 January 2018

Second Chances

Everyone deserves a second chance.

Second Chances are often a source of conflict and disdain in the teaching world  between students and staff or internally between the groups- Why should we give the kids another chance? Shouldn't they have learnt their lesson the first time ??

I have a few reasons why you should give kids and young adults second chances.

 One is a physiological reason - 

Teenagers brains are just not wired to work to make rational decisions all the time - this is something that is learnt - in fact the brain wont be finished developing until the age of 25.  Adults and teenagers use different parts of their brains to assess situations, make decisions and act -

Have you ever thought "what was he/she thinking????? Why did they do that?"  - Well lets just say the kid doesn't know either.

They are thinking differently to you and using a totally different part of the brain.  Teenagers process using their emotions not the rational part of the brain- 

The connections that are made  between different parts of the adult brain that let us be rational ( sometimes!)  and direct  adult decision making are still being forged in teenagers.  

                      Yup so it really isn't their fault. 

So sometimes when they tell you  - they don't know why they did something - its probably true. The teen was probably experiencing emotional input overload -  they weren't thinking - they were feeling the emotions and acting from them.  

Knowing this - how can you not give the teen the second chance?

Two is the emotional reason 

Giving a  second chance is a sign of forgiveness and forgiveness is an essential part of human relationships. (Hanke & Vauclair, 2016).

If the child student doesn't feel supported or that they can take emotional or educational risk then I don't think that there will be growth or a nurturing of a relationship.   Kids need to know that should they make a mistake then there are ways forward -    So giving a second chance  is recognizing that students have made a mistake and we  will learn from it and move onto a new way of doing things through communication.

Saying this....the mistake could lead to a consequence that the student doesn't naturally like or it could build relationships. 

- My school is using restorative practice and implementing more and more consequences that are meaningful and I am so for this -    So when kids make mistakes and they do --- that is why we love them, they are forgiven and given a second chance, a third chance or however many is needed in my classroom. 

 This doesn't negate the need for consequences   rather, 

-the consequences are meaningful to the kids.

Practical ways I do this in my classroom:

I find the kids currency and work with it in my classroom.

What is a currency? 

To use a crude example -
 take my Dog buddy :) - here he is in his younger days - 
 He will not go outside, ever! once he is in the house, he is in. Under the table, under the kids beds ripping up the kids toys!!!

 but HEY HEY HEY - break out the Cheese   or 
say  Cheese  
and that dog will do a triple front sault and shake your hand all in one go!  He is outside before you say "OUT Buddy".  His currency is Cheese - I can get him to do anything for that cheese - 

I will give kids as many chances as they need but I rarely need more that one  - because I work out their currency even before they have made  the mistake -  it will be different for each kid.

  • Is it the length of the tuck shop line? 
  • Is it time on the Computer? 
  • Is it sitting next to their friend? 
  • Is it a night off homework? 
  • Is it making them hand write the lesson OMG !!! no imagine 
and that is what I work with them on -  

They know they come back with a clean slate, that I don't hold grudges and we move forward instead of backwards in my class - you can lose anything you have earnt, but it could take a little longer than others - I'm talking the R word here RESPECT.

Students will always tell you if they are treated differently by different teachers - they know who is consistent and who is unfair and they know who cares and who doesn't? If you didn't know this just ask them, they will tell you, I am sure of that. So it is really important to let the kids in your class know how you work - 
be consistent and also be transparent.  

Equity and Equality  are terms the kids in my class groan at!  but I also make sure the kids know what this means - I do it at home too - age appropriate equitable treatment of students is essential and that means second chances. 
There are a load of images that explain this concept - I found this sciencey one  & then another  & there are soo many more. have a look for yourself.

What is fair for one is not for all - getting your students to understand this helps when giving that kid  the second chance that they need to succeed. 

Hanke, K., and Vauclair, C. (2016). Investigating the human value 'forgiveness' across 30 countries: A cross-cultural meta-analytical approach. Cross-Cultural Research: The Journal Of Comparative Social Science, 50(3), 215-230. doi:10.1177/1069397116641085

Here it goes - Ticking off my bucket list - - my first post in my teaching from the heart and to the core Blog

Well here I am - and I have done it.

I have always dreamed of having a successful blog that influenced people and helped me make friends in my professional life - there have been so many blocks to this along the way.  I need not mention them because I am breaking down those blocks one by one.

Not any more, no more blocks here I am - Yep that is me in the pic there holding my beloved turtles. I am a mother of 3 and step mum of 1 - that means 4 gorgeous girls are in my life as well as a wonderful partner who accepts me for who I am - all my baggage, experiences and emotions - he is there for me. 

I love biological conservation and I love the ocean and beach but then I love the desert for all its beauty color and vastness - so my loves are a bit like me really at opposite ends of the scale from each other but connected to my life experiences and loves. I cannot wait to share my desert experiences with the readers of this blog - and also my marine experiences - little thorny devils, echidnas, tiger sharks and crocodiles ! 

At 25 years old I went back to Uni and complete a Graduate Diploma in Secondary teaching to complement my  Bachelor of Science and my Bachelor of Arts Degrees.  It was a five year plan ...... and here I am today - still teaching and still loving the job  - 

In this blog I hope to share my ideas, my educational philosophies and my experiences in and out of the classroom.  A goal of mine this year is to embrace the now, find the good in all I see and be good in all I do - Big one I know - but I never did things small. Just ask my Mum :) I know she will be here somewhere supporting my work and this blog  the only way that she knows - I take this positivity from my Mum, and the changes that she has gone through in the last two years - a transcendental experience and two grown kids who still need her on a daily basis - she is amazing, and strong and positive - my inspiration and my Mum. 

I strive to find the good in all I meet - for I know that the power of the human spirit is enduring and special - I do this in the classroom because I know that the kid looking at me is special, is someone's child and someone's world  - their parents may have waited a lifetime for them to arrive - like some of my friends waiting 10 years  - or their parents may have lost someone and this is who they have now - I try to treat all with respect and acknowledging their own individual spirit - I know I can improve here -  I have high expectations as I know what is able to be achieved if you set your mind to it -  but expectations do not negate kindness and care -  I am always willing to give a second chance and I will never tell a kid that they cant do something - gets me into trouble but I believe you can do anything you want - you have that power to get your second chance.

So I will leave my first post there - and my next post will be on second chances - why I offer them in the classroom and how you can give a second chance without appearing biased or losing respect of colleagues and students.