Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tell a Teacher

A couple of student conflicts happened today that gave me pause for thought. The first was relatively minor. A boy said that his female friend hit him. He didn't seem distressed or hurt at all. If anything he seemed amused. I think the two might have been goofing off and seeking adult attention. So I asked him how he handled it. I can't remember what he said, but then I asked if he felt satisfied by how the conflict was resolved (but in different words). They seemed perplexed by my question but okay, so I dropped it. Then one of the students asked, "Aren't I supposed to tell a teacher when something happens? That's what I've always been told." I explained that if it was something minor, I thought it was best for them to work it out themselves. In life, people usually work out things on their own without another adult intervening. However, I added, I want to know if one of you is really unsafe, so that I can help out. I don't want anyone to get hurt. Otherwise I trust that you have the skills to work out your own conflicts. This perspective seemed new to my students who seemed to expect me to jump in and work things out for them. I sensed disappointment on their part that I wasn’t getting involved, which I found fascinating.

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