Restorative Mindset – The Team
Imagine the teacher that says to a student, “I am tired of you misbehaving in class. I am done with you. Go to your assistant principal.”
At this point, the damage is done. The teacher feels disrespected. The student feels mistreated. The learning environment is disrupted. A discipline response is expected. The teacher-student relationship is compromised. Parents, when involved, are concerned. And now, the assistant principal becomes the liaison between all parties.
The misnomer that a trip to the principal’s office will bring restoration to all parties involved has contributed to the high number of discipline referrals in public schools. As an assistant principal, I understand that a trip to the principal’s office can bring an eye-opening experience to a student who is referred. However, my greatest concern would be what’s the plan for when that student returns to the classroom. How will the educator and the learner restore the relationship to ensure a positive learning experience for all?
In working with my freshman learners, I partner with all parties to develop a plan that would ensure the student is not in my office in the future.
After having a conference & administratively addressing the issue with the student, I ask him/her to reflect on the following…
- What three changes (at least) will you make in class to ensure that you do not return to my office for a negative reason?
- What are two specific things that I can share with your teacher that you would like him/her to do to assist you with these changes?
- What is one thing I (as your assistant principal) can do to support you?
Afterwards, I always meet with the teacher to do the following…
- Explain the student’s perspective to provide insight into the student’s story
- Share the students two changes that the student wanted to share with the educator
- Partner with the educator on how to restore the relationship and learning environment
Throughout the process, I ensure that the parent…
- Knows the initial incident that led to the referral
- Understands the process and my expectation for restoration in the class
- Remains up-to-date on the progress from the learner and the educator
I absolutely want to do my part to support all that are involved, especially the educator. As the adult and leader of the classroom, I expect the educator to work to prevent any further issues and restore confidence in the student-teacher interaction. After sending a discipline referral, I always expect that teacher to follow up with a face-to-face chat with the objective of restoring the relationship.
The results over the past month have been amazing and I am looking forward to seeing those trends continue.