I like weddings for the food options – that being that there are usually only two. Restaurants are far more stressful for me. I can spend hours scouring the choices trying to avoid the dreaded “plate of regret”.
In some ways, this odd personality quirk has impeded my ability to work restoratively at school. Restorative schools are like restaurants in that there are always multiple good options for responding to poor student behaviour and unresolved conflict.
Punitive schools are simpler and more wedding like. All we need to do is punish the perceived guilty and absolve the assumed innocent. Chicken or fish really … and it’s all a matter of chance.
I was working with a partner school recently who are doing an awesome job of taking the stress out of the multitude of available choices by playfully “fighting to the death” over their options.
At staff meetings, they take a genuine student behaviour incident from their database and then, in small collegial groups, quickly devise three possible ways to handle it restoratively. After that, they “fight to the death” over which restorative response is the best for just one minute.
They’re effectively poking fun at the horrors of having too many choices and improving their effectiveness through short, regular chunks of dialogue-based decision-making practice.
All the choices they have are good ones. It doesn’t matter which one wins. There’s no plate of regret when you work restoratively, just delicious and wholesome tucker.
I reckon it’s genius.
Keep fighting that good fight,
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