This week I had a conversation with two students that left me speechless.
Student A: "I love being in time out."
Student A: "Because you don't have to do anything."
Student B: "She likes time out because no one can mess with her."
This extremely intelligent young student knows that if she acts up, she will be put in timeout, and no one can bully her there. It was a life changing moment for me. It made me stop and consider the many reasons a child may act up in class.
I was blessed to follow up this enlightening moment with the Hope Stone Teacher Training this weekend. Dr. Ana Trevino-Godfrey spoke to us about discipline and behavior redirection. She said that the first thing we should consider when a child acts up is "What does this child need right now?" Maybe a child needs to be heard, to feel validated, to feel like they fit in, release some extra energy, to be loved, to feel safe, or maybe they are just plain tired and hungry. Sometimes all it takes is to acknowledge how the student is feeling. But there is always a reason why, and to give them a choice in the way out of it, empowers the student.
That student needed a way out, and the only way she knew to communicate that was by misbehaving. I have personally never had an issues with this student in dance class, but now I know that she needs some extra love and peace in her life, and I am going to pay close attention to her interactions with the other students.