I have very few rules in my classroom. They are as follows:
- Work hard
- Do right
- Be safe
- Be kind
That’s it. And I have these little cards that I put on a student’s desk that tells them that they have a warning and need to sign the discipline log. Thus far, that has been the extent of a behavior issue– a warning card– and that’s only happened once. It’s been a pretty well behaved few weeks.
That was, until one of my favorite students lied to me.
We are self-preservationists at heart. It’s an instinct. And adolescents are just figuring that out– that lying can save you sometimes, and sometimes you don’t get caught. I wish someone would have informed me of that year one, but I eventually figured it out.
I hate having hard conversations, even with children. But I told her that she is loved and I forgive her. I told her that it took courage to admit to the lie. She did not appear worried about the consequences on my end, but rather, the consequences at home. I remember that. And as a people pleaser, disappointing my mother was one of the worst punishments of all. I think my young student and I have something in common.
The cards that I place on a student’s desk read, “Please stop what you are doing and make a better choice!” There were so many people in my life that said that to me. In thinking about how to love my students today, I realized that God has these cards, too. Sometimes they are people, sometimes a circumstance. But He gently places them before us and encourages us in another direction.