A long read, but please take the time to read the linked article (and my thoughts) that addresses the school to prison pipeline problem…
The article describes restorative practices the way they are intended to be implemented; I implemented these practices in California –successfully keeping peace between Surenos and Nortenos when I was Summer School Principal, and regularly motivating students to persevere and make good choices.
Arizona’s Bad Practices:
I am disappointed that my School Leadership Licensure Assessment scores are not accepted in Arizona, and I am unable to be in a school leadership position in Tucson, and share what I have learned with teaching colleagues, and support them as they change their practices.
Time For Change, Arizona!
Arizona’s education system forces teachers and administrators to cling to the out-dated teacher-centered model, instead of progressing to student-centered models. I was docked on a teacher evaluation for handling a student problem quietly and privately with a student in my class. My evaluator’s comment was that they could not hear what I was saying to the student, so the action did not take place. I have also been docked for having a classroom that is “too loud” — when my students are all chatting in small groups. I don’t blame my administrator, but I do blame the system.
In The Classroom:
We must show our students how to make choices. Will they make bad choices? Yes. Will we feel like we “just said that!!” Yes. Will it take time, patience, perseverance? Yes, yes, yes.
About Those Habits…
Habits are hard to break. It takes 30 days straight to break bad habits. That’s 30 waking hours days, being mindful constantly, having support.
Realize It Is Work:
It is work. And it is a different kind of work. It is the kind of work where the teacher has to recognize they are simply a facilitator of learning.
Give up the sense of need for control.
Let it go.
Guide our students.
About That Evaluation:
If the evaluator had stayed to see the whole process, they would have seen students being allowed to fail because they had chosen to use their work time chatting about something other than their project, and then discussing their scores and what they could do to receive better scores.
About Those Disruptive Students…
This does not mean that disruptive students get a “free pass”. It means that the teacher-facilitator addresses the issue by helping set up classroom norms *with* the class, and addresses problems *with* the class, and also discerns the need to help the “norm breaker” verbalize why they “broke the norm”. Norms should be living documents. Use of the PDSA (plan-do-study-act) process assists in ensuring the class norms reflect the class’s needs.
You Are Probably Thinking:
“Teachers Don’t Have Enough Time To Do This!”
Lack of time? Not if teacher facilitators follow the theories of Harry Wong, and the necessity of realizing it can take 30 days to set uo the classroom. The theories and practices of Fred Jones reiterate the need to revisit the goal of the student frequently, and teach step by step processes — to bridge the gaps that appear.
Administrators Must Show Support:
It is not hard work for teachers if administrators support the classroom teacher by providing the human power to speak with students, on demand (yes, it does mean administrators need to take a hands-on approach).
Superintendent and School Board Must Show Support:
Which means the Superintendent and School Board policies must support this model, and provide necessary support to administrators.
Stand Strong and Be Flexible:
It is okay to stay rooted, and be like water, and to be like a willow tree, bending and going with the flow, and guiding ourselves to new solutions and practices that create a place where #EachOfUs and #AllOfUs can say: “This is #OurTucson.”
Tucson, we can do better. We must do better.
#VisionAndCourage #OurChildren #OurFuture