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Changing of the heart

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December 2012
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“I’m sorry, won’t happen again”

“My bad” “My mistake” 

We do it all the time with our friends, loved ones, whoever.  We throw out a simple apology and go on our merry way without feeling the slightest remorse or really understanding what was done wrong.  Students get away with this every single day but what do we do as educators when we see this?  Does this go beyond our pay grade?

Part of our moral obligation as educators is to go beyond the classroom routine and lectures.  We are expert people watchers, part time psychiatrists, part time baby sitters, part time whatever and at the same time we need be aware of the fact that we are shaping the “future of America.”  We can’t just let things slide all the time and pretend as if these fake apologies are all students need to do to get by.  We should go on to help students understand what they did wrong, why it is wrong, and what the possible consequences will be.

I spoke to a student yesterday who said that if he gets called down to the principals office that he would just stay quiet and say nothing.  He would take a suspension or whatever punishment they would hand him and just not deal with the problem.  At first I thought he was a genius, he’s pleading the 5th already!  Then I thought to myself, what has he learned about the system in this school?  He thinks keeping his mouth shut is the right thing to do and it will keep him safe.  In actuality, he’s right.  No administrator or teacher asks what he did wrong, if he’s okay, if he’s involved, or any surrounding factor when he’s questioned.  He’s going to continue his educational career by keeping quiet and just dealing with a slap on the wrist.  How is that right?  Students aren’t really punished anymore, nor do they reflect upon their terrible decisions.  How do we get past the fake exteriors of these students and really help shape their hearts/minds in a more positive fashion?

Take it easy

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