How many hours of your school life do you spend ‘investigating’ drama? How many hours of your life will you never get back because of the time it took to sort through a friendship issue? How many of these incidents were actually worth the amount of time spent on them?
Sometimes I wonder if we aren’t creating these problems, these life sucking situations for ourselves. As the adults, and professional adults, aren’t we able to stop, take a minute to assess and then decide whether or not we need to be drawn into this for the next 17 days?
A few months ago, I wrote a piece called ‘It’s not that Big a Deal’ in relation to taking a step back from big situations. I think this is the same question that we need to ask ourselves in these moments of drama. I know that people will say ‘Well, it is a big deal to the students’ and in a sense they would be right. And wrong.
When you are 5, 12, 15 pretty much everything and anything can fall into the ‘Big Deal’ category. Anything from a broken eraser to a snide remark from a fellow student. But guess what…it isn’t a big deal. Not really. As teachers it is our job to help students understand the difference between something that is annoying versus something that is a big deal. You see if we jump on the ‘It’s a big deal for them, so we need to investigate’ bandwagon we are essentially confirming that ‘yes, this is huge’ when in actual fact it isn’t. Not really. In fact, usually, not at all.
Instead of jumping to immediately investigate let’s take a moment to assess, decide and help students to associate the appropriate reaction to the situation. As the adults, our students are watching how we react so that they can align their reactions with our own. If we remain calm, deal with it reasonably and with the appropriate amount of emotion, then they will learn to do the same. If we react, gather 500 of the closest witnesses and spend three days of our lives sorting through, then the students will expect the same for every minor altercation.
Students will follow our example. Let’s set a reasonable one. One that does not get sucked up in drama, that doesn’t encourage dobbing and tears. Instead let’s focus on talking through the situation calmly so that we can all move on and know not only are we setting a good example, but that we are saving everyone hours of their lives.
Check out other articles Cassie has written here.