1. When it comes to the concept of Do No Harm, I believe that school is the place most students come to feel safe and that it needs to be a place where they feel wanted and welcomed.
2. Future sphere of influence, as the school leader, how would my beliefs be reflected in discipline policies and practices?
a. I believe that sending a student outside of the classroom is the worst thing you can do unless you follow them. I have seen in the past students who are sent to detention and all they do is boast about how proud they are they were able to leave that classroom. As a future school leader one discipline policy I would implement would be that any issue needs to be handle by the teacher as soon as it happens. If that means I or someone else needs to come in and cover the class then that is what will happen. I also believe that every case should be looked at independently of anything that happened the previous years. I say this because some kids can develop a reputation and teachers because they are human buy into that reputation when in reality its just that, reputation and not reality. For this I would set a policy where teachers could not discuss behavior issues with each other unless it was for a way to resolve the behavior.
3. Future sphere of influence, as the school leader, how would my beliefs be reflected in program practices and initiatives?
a. I believe that as a teacher we need to come up with classroom rules on a year-by-year basis. What worked for one class and one year doesn’t work for another. As a future school leader I believe each year should be new and yes, there should be some guidelines in terms of policies and practices in order for their to be consistency but overall things need to be done and revise on a year to year basis. One way I would do this is to have a staff meeting where we could come as a consensus on what we believe should be guidelines we need to agree upon to have a successful year for our students, no more than 5. The key here is to put our students first and not us as the adults. These policies should be based on making sure the student is able to achieve their true potential without impeding the learning of others. I would also create a forum where students can discuss their grievances with the staff or the administration, sort of a complaint box. This way there could be an open discussion about what is working for our students and what is not.
4. Future sphere of influence, as the school leader, how would my beliefs be reflected in our professional development as a community of learners?
a. One thing that our school did a few years back was provide very powerful training on how to implements positive behavior. I wont say that I remember a lot of that class but I will say this, the impact that it made in me was tremendous. I remember one activity in which we had to stand on chairs and talk down to our students, who were other teachers pretending to be students. The paradigm shift because I was no longer talking to a student but a colleague was profound. So as a future school leader I would provide professional development not only on restorative practices as we discussed in the book but also on positive behavior modification practices.
5. Is the concept of teaching students to “first do no harm” integrated into the culture of your school (or workplace)?
a. Yes, the concept of “first do no harm” is part of our school culture. We have as previously mentioned, had professional development on positive behavior modification but also had professional development on restorative practices. For example, one thing we do as a school is we do not send students to the principal’s office when there is an issue in class. Instead we take the student out with us, have a conversation with them, while another adult takes over our class.
6. How does your answer to the previous prompt sit with you?
a. My first year I felt my principal was letting me down by not taking the student and instead asking me to deal with the situation. But my second year I understood the reason and I now come to champion this type of behavior management.
7. Current sphere of influence: Commit to 5 things you are willing to do this semester that will make your school a more positive restorative place:
a. Talk to adults with a positive language (I do it with kids but I cant do it with colleagues)
b. Go over, once a week, our restorative questions I carry with me to become more familiar with them when dealing with a student.
c. Use restorative practices with my colleagues and teachers
d. Don't jump to conclusions and analyze the cause of the behavior.
e. Send out monthly surveys to our students on the status of our school in terms of behavior and how they feel about our policies and guidelines.
f. Model appropriate behavior for my students.