Saturday, March 25, 2017

Loving Love & Logic

While it took about two months, I'm happy to report that I've finished Love and Logic.  I've {previously shared} that I read the parent edition last summer, but it didn't quite meet my needs as a teacher.  This book is often back ordered, but persistence and patience paid off.  Amazon delivered the book a few months ago and I've been slowly making my way through the pages.

Most of the book isn't filled with earth shattering revelations, but rather small tweaks to my classroom management and instruction.  As a teacher, I've found that one of my biggest challenges is falling into power struggles with students (particularly strong willed, more difficult ones).  I'd often find myself frustrated and wanting to have the last word in arguments.  This cycle wasn't leaving me very happy as an educator.

So, I sought out solutions.  A colleague recommended this book and not wanting to admit defeat with my teaching career, I took her advice, swallowed my pride and read the book (the parent edition) last summer.  This year, I've tried some of the strategies (such as choices and consequences with empathy).  It's making a difference.

There are still days when I'm frustrated by my students' choices.  One of the most difficult things about teaching (that no one tells you) is that I don't get to leave my job at school.  Often times, I'll be up tossing and turning, trying to figure out how to deal with a particular student.

One of my students this year has really gotten under my skin.  He's not defiant, he's not argumentative, he doesn't shout out.  He just simply doesn't do anything.  He is not meeting his reading goals, he's not doing his homework, he's not participating in class, he's not doing much of anything.  He simply sits all day.  Parent contact doesn't help the situation.  He's a smart young man and capable of being successful, he's just choosing not to apply himself or try, which is beyond frustrating as a teacher.  Writing him up doesn't work. I don't want him to sit out of recess to read, because then he'll associate reading with punishment (which is not what I want).  I've tried asking him how he'll solve his problem, but he simply shrugs apathetically.  My usual strategies aren't working.

Luckily, Love and Logic had an idea that I'll be trying in the classroom.  One of my favorite aspects of this book is the real world scenarios and different suggested lines for discussion.  My students have been a little antsy lately (spring fever hit early), so they're going to have a bonus surprise indoor fun break...if they've met their weekly goals and completed all their work.  

However, this student (and several others) probably won't be joining.  Instead, I'll phrase it that they're fortunate to have some bonus time to catch up on their goals and are welcome to join us once they've met their requirements.  It's not recess that's being taken away, but rather a very real consequence to their actions (or rather, inaction).   When the complaining starts (as it will), I'll respond with empathy. I'll state that it's a bummer and ask how they intend to solve their situation. I'll state that they're welcome to join us once they've completed the expectations.

Will they be frustrated? Yes.  Will they get to uncomfortably experience the natural consequences of their actions? Yes.  Will it be a discussion? Nope.  I will let them choose to continue to be off task, but also choose the consequence (not participating in our fun activities).  I'm okay with them living with their consequences because I'm no longer owning their behavior choices.  

Fingers crossed this strategy will be a game changer for my more apathetic students. I don't resort to yelling, consequences (being written up) aren't working, so instead I'll focus on acknowledging the positive choices that others are making.

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