I know “Punitivism” is not a “real” word, but it sounds cool right? From the many definitions around, here is what it really entails from what I see in schools “inflicting or intended as punishment“.
What’s the point? A consequence for the behavior? Punishment? Being disciplined?
I thought we, as educators were here to mold, empower, help, engage, teach, shape, coach, and facilitate the betterment of our students. Aren’t we suppose to turn them into lifelong learners and outstanding citizens? Those who can make a positive impact upon the others around them?
It seems to me that “benching”, “time outs”, “heads down on your desk” and “NO Recess for you!” has not gone by the wayside yet and is still the norm in our schools. Where is our teachable moment, and our “fair is not equal” Growth Mindset? Yes, I get it! If a kid hurts or intends to physically hurt another child, let’s take some real action, but really?” Let’s take him out of class, I’ll show him!” “This will teach him, I am sending him to the office!” OR…suspension…er, I mean, stay home and play on your device day…nope, it doesn’t work.
I don’t have the silver bullet, but I not only love the word “Altruism”, I live by the practice. ” A selfless concern for the well-being of others”. Wow, that sounds super cool! How do I do it?
Many times on my campus, I hear grumblings from teachers that “Mr. K, just lets kids skate!” “He does nothing to teach that kid a lesson!” Really? does the 30-60 minutes I just spent with that student, in a 1:1 totally engaged, focused and heart felt conversation not matter? I thought we were supposed to CONNECT with kids, not push them away!
Well, let’s see, what else do I do?…I listen.I look into his/her eyes. I empathize. I walk with them. I show them. I model. We practice. Again. Again. Apologies. Community Service. Giving Back. Re-start.
So, where does that really leave us?
Simple. Lead with your heart. Listen and connect with kids. Get down on your knees, and to his/her level. Be there. Hug if needed (warning: can be addicting). Connect. Connect. Teach and watch. I’m sure you will see the seeds grow.