I have learned many lessons from my Pops. I hear myself sounding like him on a daily basis in my classroom. This morning, though, I remembered a lesson I learned while learning to drive. Among other issues, I had a habit of forgetting to turn my headlights on as evening came on. One day, Pops reminded me AGAIN to turn my headlights on. I said I didn’t think I needed them yet. He thought for a minute, and then said that if I noticed two other cars with their headlights on, I would want to turn my own lights on.
I still use that rule while driving. I was thinking this morning, though, that many cars these days have automatic lights that are on all day. My two-cars rule might be obsolete, but I still use it when in doubt.
I would like to compare that to having a bad teaching day. Perhaps the rule might be “if more than one student is suspended because of you, you might want to take a break.” If the thought “why are these students ALL being awful today?” goes through your head more than once, maybe there is something you are doing that is triggering it. This is not a hard and fast rule (see future post on Rule #13: Beware the Full Moonies), but it is something to keep in mind.
Then I thought, similar to the automatic headlights on the roads today, student behaviors are also on “automatic.” It is tough to decide if the behavior is just “on automatic,” or if they are caused by interactions in the classroom.
I have no answer to this. I was just thinking about it. Any comments?