Sunday, November 8, 2015

Discipline with Dignity

Not long ago, I had an encounter with a parent that made me do some reflecting. It was a parent who had been unresponsive to many of my attempts to meet and who had failed to pick up her child several times at the appropriate time.  Then it happened.  At the end of an exhausting day, I was eager to get home and see my children. My oldest had just finished a sporting event and I was anxious to hear how she had done and was feeling guilty for missing it. Just as I was preparing to leave the office, I got a phone call from transportation. A child was being returned to the school because the parent was not at the pick up spot. I did some quick math and realized that this was the fourth time this had happened with this parent.  The bus driver was angry and so was I.  After waiting for the parent to arrive, I went out to meet her feeling frustrated and upset.

When she pulled up, I immediately went to her door and reprimanded her for not being at the designated spot.  When she started giving an explanation, I interrupted her and told her this was the fourth time this had happened and that if it continued, her child may lose the privilege of riding the bus.  I instructed her to wait in the drive until the bus returned in a few moments.  I then got into my car and headed home.  Driving home I was still angry, but I soon realized I wasn't angry at the parent, I was angry with myself for my behavior. I don't know all the circumstances that may be going on with that family and nobody deserves to be treated rudely or disrespectfully.  As much as I wanted to get home to my family, I knew that if I continued home, I would be filled with regret and upset all evening.  I quickly turned the car around and headed back to the school.  Fortunately, I got there before the bus.  I approached the vehicle and asked her to roll her window down.  I told her that I had returned to make an apology. Yes, I still wanted her to be responsible and pick up on time and yes, I still had to enforce our school rules, but I didn't have to be rude about it. And though I had never raised my voice, I apologized for interrupting her earlier and for being rude. I hadn't displayed the character traits I try to instill in our students.  She was a bit taken aback and accepted my apology and she also apologized for not being at the designated spot on time.  I got home late that night, but I came home with a refreshed mind and clear conscious.

As a principal, I need to model the behavior I want to see in staff and students. I also realize that we are all human.  And being human means we make mistakes. Knowing that, we need to remember that saying "I'm sorry" is part of being a leader or a role model. It also means forgiving...forgiving of others and forgiving of ourselves. Educators aren't perfect, but we may be the one positive role model in the eyes of a child. It's something that can be daunting and even intimidating, but very much needed. So remember when correcting a student (or a parent) to hold them accountable, have high expectations and clear procedures, but always discipline with dignity and remember to be forgiving of yourself as well.

photo credit: Google Images

PEARLS OF WISDOM - From our very own Rosedale students!

"My mama told me when you work hard you learn your best." - Kindergarten student

Me: "That's really cool what you did on the computer" Student: "Thanks, but my friend taught me how to do it." - 4th grade student

"My mom's name is Sarah. That's short for Princess." - Preschool student



Monday, November 9: Jon to Rotary 12:00-1:00 pm
Tuesday, November 10: Report Cards sent home
Wednesday, November 11: P/T Conferences in the evening
Thursday, November 12: No Staff Meeting
                                       No students P/T Conferences Day & Evening
Friday, November 13: No School

Tuesday, November 17: Elementary Principals at Wayne-RESA 7:30-10:00 am
Wednesday, November 18: IEP Limberg/Boggs 8:20 am
                                            Elementary Principals to Walled Lake for Instructional Rounds (pm)
Thursday, November 19: Staff Meeting 8:00 am
                                         Elementary Principals Meeting 1:00-4:30 pm
Friday, November 20: Goodfellows Canned Food Drive $2 or 2 Cans = Bag of Popcorn at 2nd recess

Monday, November 23: Picture Retakes in PM
                                       Sheila Alles building visit 2:00-4:00 pm
Wednesday, November 25: Thanksgiving Break begins

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