Counseling Referral Form

I had a student today that skated the boundaries of appropriate behavior all period. He wasn’t exactly…overtly misbehaving, but was a continual annoyance. He had done the same thing to the teachers before me and the ones after me. I wrote him up on a negative disciplinary referral. I then spoke to another teacher about how we needed a form to document behavior but didn’t require disciplinary action. Something to give the principal so she could talk to the student or send to the school social worker so we could assist them in improving behavior without punishing them – a “second chance” so to speak. He agreed that we needed something like that and he had often wanted to write a student up without disciplining the student.

Keeping with the theme of “You Matter,” I spoke to my principal about creating a form that a teacher could fill out for a student they want to send to the office but isn’t exactly a negative referral requiring disciplinary action. There are a number of times I have a student that I want to document behavior but don’t want disciplinary action to follow because I don’t think it would motivate the student to change their behavior. I believe sometimes the student just needs to know we care about him/her and s/he just needs to be talked to to see if there is someway we can help. But the student also needs to know that the situation is serious and needs to be handled. I suppose my thought could be summed up in the words of American educator and author, Dr. Marvin Marshall, “Each time you coerce someone into doing something by using your power of authority, you deprive that person of an opportunity to become more responsible.”

The students I work with need to feel they have made an active choice in their behavior, not simply coerced into the choice because of negative consequences. She thought it was a good idea. We’ll see if it comes to fruition. If it does, we’ll have a positive referral, a counseling referral, and a negative referral. I think the counseling referral is a perfect addition in light of making students feel they matter and not simply another problem for some teacher or administrator to fix.


Not the Day I Planned

Today was not the day I planned. It was not the day I thought it would be. I started the day with certain expectations and they were shot down. Not intentionally mind you, but it was still frustrating. It’s days like this where you have to admit you messed up and redirect fire or start over from scratch. I committed to both courses of action. 

As you may recall from yesterday, I thought the “You Matter” concept was better received by the faculty yesterday. Well, as it turns out, I think at best it was lukewarm. That was a blow I didn’t expect. But, in their defense, we do a lot of the things “You Matter” advocates: we greet students, we talk to them one-on-one, we attempt to make them feel they are successful. But I felt (and still do) that there was something missing that tied it all together. Perhaps I didn’t make that clear enough. I’ll have to readdress that and talk to the other teachers about it. I don’t know how much persuasion they really require. I think it’s more a question from them of, “Why do we need this, when we already do so many of those things already?” I think my answer needs to be that  the “You Matter” material kind of ties it together in a neat package, it focuses it.

Naturally, I got ribbing for being “touchy-feely” and such. I should have expected that and the other male teachers were going around jokingly saying to me and each other, “Hey, don’t forget! You matter!” But I think in the long run they believe it’s something we need and they’ll do it once they see the results.

My classes didn’t go as planned. Lots of absences today. Which means I have to repeat on Monday what I did today. Additionally, I realized today I gave out the wrong assignment to one government class last week. I think I’m to the point of simply starting over in government. It was really frustrating. This switch from blocks to periods and to new standards for all my classes has also increased my frustration. I simply am not feeling organized right now and I felt it in all my classes. I don’t like that. 

I got two new students today from “reentry.” Reentry is when students have been with us before and return. When they return they are isolated in ISS for a minimum of one week. This isolation can last longer depending on their behavior and their work. They have certain things they must complete prior to joining the rest of the students. So these two joined me in my contemporary issues class. They changed the entire dynamics of the class. Our classes are already small, This class had only five students and now has seven. It’s hard enough to get these types of students to engage in appropriate discourse. But once you got the flow of the class going, it’s not too bad. Then you get two students like this and it’s like starting over from ground zero. It adds to your frustration.

A freshman in my last periods (block) told me another student had been bullying her. This infuriated me. She’s 14, he’s 18. I don’t tolerate that at all. He thinks he’s an adult and a “man.”  For the record: “real men” don’t act like that. Last week, I caught him bumping up against her and such. I told him I didn’t want to see that happen again. He tried to brush it off. I told her to let me know if anything was going on. She has tried to ignore it, but today she admitted it’s gone too far. Monday? We’re having a “Come-to-Jesus-Meeting.” Oh I’m still hot about it.

The principal was absent today. Our “assistant principal” (who-really-isn’t-an-assistant-principal-but-does-the-work-of-one) lead the morning assembly. He went ahead and talked to them about how they mattered and how they mattered to us. It sounded jilted to me, but it was an effort. I’m looking forward to Monday when our principal returns to see what she has planned.

Days like this happen. Not all days are perfect. Not all days happen the way we plan. I kept my eyes on the prize and the goal. I’ll keep persevering, running the race. It’s days like this that make me so grateful and blessed to come home to my wonderful wife and awesome four kids who stay out of trouble and try their best at all things. Truly a refuge from craziness. Here’s to hoping this weekend is productive. One of my twitter friends loves lists (and by making this list if she reads it, it’ll be stuck in her head, so that’s pretty cool!), so here’s the list: 1) science project for 10yr old son; 2) work on organizing classes; 3) rest – I think I may be getting sick; 4) work on a digital wallpaper; 5) maybe? get out in the garage depending on the weather. 

I hope y’all have a great weekend. Let me know what your plans are if you feel the desire and/or got the time. I’d be interested. Hit me up on twitter: @_ericturner

I Presented “You Matter” to Faculty Today

Monday, after I had my “You Matter” Damascene moment, I told my principal about my impression of it and the reaction of the students. After discussing it and reading about it, she decided that we would attempt to implement it school-wide. This afternoon, I introduced it to the faculty during our meeting. We watched about 20 minutes of a video with Angela Maiers and her explaining it. I told them about my experience with it on Monday and how each day has gone since then. Each teacher has a group we attempt to mentor. Prior to this year, it’s always been somewhat weak in results. But we talked about how “You Matter” could impact those mentor groups. We also talked about how “You Matter” and “You have something to contribute to the world” can impact our Friday service projects that we are picking up from last year. Instead of making them service projects that students must do to get out of our program, we talked about how we can use those service projects to show students have something positive to contribute to the community. It was a very positive meeting. The last thing mentioned was changing our school motto. Every morning students say the pledge of allegiance in a school assembly (it’s only 20-40 students, so don’t imagine a huge gym doing this!) and then they repeat the school motto: “I am a very important person! Today I will strive to do my personal best because I AM THE FUTURE! Failure is not an option, excuses not accepted. Excellence is our goal!”

I think our new motto will encompass something about “I matter,” “I have something to contribute and the world needs my contribution,” “I am not a mistake or accident,” “I have a purpose.” I think those better affirm what we want our students to believe about themselves. Not that the other one didn’t, it just seemed a bit too…martial. When I read it, it sounds like something you would hear at more at Army basic training or something than at a school.
So I’m excited for Monday. Excited for what the principal will say and do.
Oh! And the same student who said this (“You Matter!”) needs to be said to the whole student body, repeated that request today. She also…hey, listen to this!…she also wrote a note to the school secretary telling her what an awesome person she is and how much she loves her and how she’s always there for her.
It. Brightened. Her. Day. Up. BIG. TIME! The secretary had a huge smile on her face and pinned the note up on her bulletin board. I was very happy for her. :)
20140821_120228Yesterday’s message was erased and made more colorful! :)

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