This Is Not How We Do It Here!

Those were the words of a person who was being paid to educate children. I want you to add a harsh tone to those words and increase the decibels; you have a good idea of the incident the student was experiencing. The student was male, had come from a so-called “rough” school to the school where I was a Grade 5 teacher, and he was known to be living in a community of recent immigrants with tropical backgrounds. To some this child was not like the other children.

The entire assembly was silenced; not from the boy’s voice or from the off-key singing. The assembly was shocked by the loud rebuke of the boy; how dare he spoil the National Anthem with his off-key singing! Without a preamble, a taking him aside and courteously inquire into his singing, or anything that a good teacher would do, this teacher humiliated the 11 year old boy who sang off-key in her country. As this student was under my tutorial care, I was informed of the incident and in my style, I decided to allow some time to pass before I spoke to the student who was understandably upset, angry, and in tears.

When this boy was transferred to my school, I was the most likely person, I was told, and that could help this child. Apart from the fact that I have had much success with children of every personality we’ve had, the boy did not look very different from the way I looked and there was very little doubt that any other teacher wanted to have him. I was happy to have him, because I knew what to do and how to deal with so-called difficult children.

I have never forgotten the scene; the anger that was present was palpable. It was a difficult and trying time for everyone and to some degree, there was anticipation for what I would do. Whether I could handle the situation in a winsome manner or not was in the balances. There was no greater task than to bring this situation to a win for the boy, the teacher, the principal, and indeed for the entire school. This was a fairly new school. People got along very well. We came from many schools to this school having worked together before. The camaraderie among the staff was the envy of other schools within the board. We did a lot of extra-curricular activities and students were very proud to be part of our school. But, this was a critical moment and one that could be very telling for everyone concerned.

Have you ever been in a similar situation? If you do, you have an idea of what I was going through at the time. You see, the boy was looking at me for what he wanted to occur. The teacher was looking at me to see what I would say and do and whether I would create a worse situation in the relationship that she had with the boy. The teaching staff did not know what was going to happen; they knew that I was someone who stood for the downtrodden, yes, the mistreated and the downcast. When some children had difficulty sticking to the school rules, I decided that I would sit with them for lunch. To that, a good teacher friend of mine remarked, “that will be some kind of punishment for those children”. The notion was that the children should be punished because they did not behave as expected during the lunch period. I was intended to show that the children could indeed behave. I knew how to invoke good behaviour from the “worst” children. I found the answer was in being kind, respectful, and authentic. Being real with the children and clear in expectations.

To be continued…
That’s all for now. Until next time.

Below is the information to order a copy of my bestselling book which is becoming the talk among parents and students alike.

To be continued…
That’s all for now. Until next time.

Below is the information to order a copy of my bestselling book which is becoming the talk among parents and students alike.


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