I just got back from a road trip to northern Michigan visiting a great group of fifth graders. I shared stories, showed them what the writing process looks like (for me), and sang some fun songs. When I was done presenting and packing up, I heard the teacher say to one of his students, “Not everyone likes a bear hug.” I turned around just in time to see the same kid that had given me a bear hug about five minutes earlier backing down from an awkward embrace. I wish I had been clever enough to think of something like that while I was a classroom teacher because it was a perfect way to handle a minor infraction.
We all know the best way to handle petty issues is not to overreact and make an atomic bomb out of a puffball. On my drive home I couldn’t help but think of some things my last principal may have been tempted to say to me:
Scott, not everyone likes when you…
– walk into a staff meeting wearing a shirt that’s way too small for you.
-show a video that frightens children.
-take it upon yourself to clean out the refrigerator in the teacher’s lounge and throw away food people were planning to eat that day.
– encourage your colleagues to keep sharing “good things” at staff meetings so that it’s impossible to get started on time.
-give them a bear hug.
Hope this helps,
(This tip ain’t just for the classroom. I’ve already started using it at home.)