THRIVE by Teaching Expectations

Adam Hogan wastes no time in Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth. The first myth that he busts is one that I have definitely believed: perfect teachers never have behavior problems from their students.

Ok, logically, yes, I know that this can't be true. Even my role model colleagues have had kids act up  and my 'best' classes have left me exhausted and frustrated at the end of the day. But belief in a myth doesn't have be logical. What teacher wouldn't want to have to worry about behavior problems?

Yet, Hogan discusses how behavior problems do happen, no matter our level of experience. In order to thrive as a teacher we need to adjust our response to misbehavior; instead of assuming that students know how to act and behavior, we need to teach behavior expectations. We never give students the same type of grace when they make a behavior mistake than when they make an academic mistake.

This notion is not a new concept to me, especially since I am on the leadership team for PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports). The last two years of training has always emphasized that behavior must be taught and are not always innately known or taught to students prior to your class.

Quote from Chapter 1: Teaching Expectations
But Hogan's message reaffirmed my belief in teaching expectations, particularly with the use of the word grace. I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt, even if its a rude cashier, an aggressive driver, or dismissive sale clerk. But many times, I don't always do this as consistently in my classroom as I do when I'm running errands.

At the end of the chapter, Hogan poses several questions to encourage reflection and one was about one behavior you are constantly correcting in your classroom and how you can reset your expectations.

Language is definitely one of our top behaviors that needs correcting on campus. It is one of our behaviors that we are addressing in our PBIS School-Wide Matrix:

School-Wide Behavior Matrix from Minarets

But my expectations for language do need to be reset. I grew up in a home where "shut-up" and "oh my God" was considered profanity; I remember when my sister bought an "explicit" CD and I thought we would both be grounded forever. My upbringing gave me the assumption that most parents discourage profanity at home, but many times parents do not for whatever reason. Interestingly, Patrick Wilson, the Head of Charter at my school, even brought up how the internet and streaming services have made it even more difficult to control the type of language children are hearing, something that wasn't a huge issue when I was growing up. Many times, I even find that students don't always know what the appropriate or better word would be for the profane word choice.

As a PBIS team, we are planning out ways to fully roll out this matrix next year with frequent reteaching and reflection. In my personal classroom, I'm thinking that dedicating part of a day once a week to review behaviors, but this is difficult since Minarets is on a rotating block schedule. Maybe on our Early Out Days, that are every Monday? Even though it seems cheesy to do in high school, maybe making a bulletin board or a sign of some sort that give the appropriate words or phrases to use when frustrated or upset? Like, "Instead of that, say this". Or maybe a fun Kahoot would be better? Any ideas that would be appropriate for high schoolers?

I guess since my "traveling" portion of my summer break is over, it is time that I start planning this out!


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