In it together. (Photo: namastenish, Instagram)
Last year I had a student we’ll call Mr. No Shoes. He earned this nickname from my MTLD because whenever he received a consequence, he would scream and kick off his shoes. He was an incredibly smart student, but he always managed to manipulate those around him and end up causing the most mischief. Let’s just say Mr. No Shoes is the student I always worried about at the end of the day. I felt incredibly frustrated whenever I had to talk to him about seemingly simple things like kicking another student, and incredibly sad whenever I had to ask him to leave the room because he refused to calm himself. My MTLD and I thought we were so smart; we tried every incentive and consequence we could think of to curb his behavior. Yet, we were not successful. By October, I realized we were overlooking some people who knew Mr. No Shoes much better than us.
At that point in the school year, I hadn’t solicited advice from any of my colleagues. I took what I saw from outside their classrooms and assumed they had low standards for their students and themselves. Yet, when Mr. No Shoes pulled the fire alarm early one morning and got himself suspended by our Executive Director, I was desperate for solutions. I decided to turn to anyone who would offer a suggestion. I was ready for a real conversation with my fellow teachers.