Honoring greatness with the Nurtured Heart Approach
Tammy Small, M.Ed. and certified Nurtured Heart Trainer
Calling all adults who work with kids.  Look out!! It is spring!!
Some thoughts on diligent discipline, high expectations and building inner wealth in these last 4 weeks! 
Now is the time when our gifts and passionate attention is called most strongly. 
Each day I come to work, I am amazed by your greatness as educators - you astound me every day with your enthusiasm, concern, quest to be the best version of yourself/a teacher, a mentor to the struggling student, an entertainer to the one who is bright but bored.  You show up every day, knowing each day will have its different challenges – because we work with little individuals. You have the most important job in the world. In fact, you likely picked this job because of someone just like you: a dedicated, compassionate teacher.  Do not forget this - your power is significant in making or breaking a kid's day with a simple statement - an easy compliment.   
Sunshine, springtime, counting days - you name it and we are hitting the weeks where teachers diligence matters the most.  The Nurtured Heart calls us to recognize the 95% of our children who are doing what we expect, to provide maximum time-in, versus time-outside of the classroom or engaged in negative attention.  The challenge is our patience and consistency in saying, "Thank you Table 2 for your focus and respect.  Wow!  Janine your eyes sparkle as they turn to listen.
Thank you for that! Jeremy, your concentration right now is a gift to me and your fellow classmates."  Unfortunately, our ‘leak’ or habit is to often only hear/see the same 3 kids who are distracted and then rewarded. "Tom, what did I just say?"  “Karen, stop talking.”  “Kevin, if you I have to tell you again…” Try instead to shift to  paying attention to the students (whole tables!) around Tom/Karen/Kevin who are working to pay attention.  And recognize/name their success.  
You may consider having a class meeting and quickly (they only pay attention for a short while to a lecture!) outline the rules you need to have them comply to.  Keep the list short - but very specific.  “Respect” as a rule in itself doesn't work, because it is not specific enough – and easy for kids to miss what you really are requiring of them. Name what that looks like in the hall, at church, in the classroom, and then be strict in expectation.  Consistent in consequence. No lecture or conversation.  “Darn, Judy, you broke a rule.  Time out.” You may have to demonstrate what you mean by time out or reset (head down or push chair from desk and sit for a few seconds – hands on lap.  For some in 5th grade, I have them settle hands on lap and breath deeply – saying as they exhale silently, “I am powerful” It is meant as a personal reminder to help the student become aware and powerful in their choices.)  Then after a few seconds, invite them back. “Katie, you handled that consequence with amazing responsibility/maturity/self-control/etc..  Welcome back.” 
Kids do not learn in the hall or in the office.  They do not learn from long or even short lectures about their behavior.  They learn from quick consequences and clear expectations - and from noticing all they do right  (which they do most of the time!)  Keep your list of adjectives handy.  Today, pick one you want to energize in your students or one you have seen them slip out of lately. Tell them, "I will be looking for your persistence/cooperation/intelligence/focus/etc today." Then give them every chance to be successful, especially those 3 whom even the whole class counts on to receive your ‘warnings (leaking!”)  Look for it - set them up for it - and praise them, praise them, praise them. 
Finally, only issues of safety should be a concern to send a child to the office.  You are amazing, capable classroom managers.  I have been in all of your classrooms and watched your diligence.  Children want responsibility, safety, and freedom.  All three are dependent on each other - and we give it to them when we increase their awareness of their own ability to follow our expectations - to step into their greatness. If a child crosses a safety line, always send with a note – or call to the office for someone to come down if possible.  Let’s assume and expect greatness today.  And especially be easy on yourselves, to each other.  There is a reason we aren’t home school teachers!!  Happy Spring (18 more days – but who is counting?) 
"You do the best you can - until you know better." – Maya Angelo
Spring Fever and the NHA with teachers
Friday, May 23, 2008