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My teaching partner, Paula, and I spend a lot of time discussing Self-Reg. We often talk about our students, and what we’re noticing in the classroom. 

  • Is their behaviour changing? Why might it be changing?
  • What might be causing problems?
  • How can we support our students better?
  • Are there children that we need to give additional special attention? How can we do this more?

Our “kid talk” surpasses our “program talk”, and we talk about program a lot. We really try hard to program for individual students with individual needs, and make all children feel as though they are loved in the classroom. They really are loved. This is why what happened the other day is bothering me so much.

Recently, a child took home something from school. It was something small, and it wasn’t a big deal. These things happen, especially in Kindergarten. The parent brought back the item the next day, and spoke to us about it. She mentioned talking to her daughter about the problem, and during this discussion, the child shared that another child in the class (named by the parent) had put the item in her backpack. Please note that the mom was not suggesting that this was the case, and spoke to her child about taking responsibility for what had happened. That said, it bothered me that this child picked a classmate to blame, saying that this child “gets in trouble all the time.” 

Paula and I spoke about this conversation for a long time after school.

  • How often do we call out different children’s names?
  • How often do we talk to different students in the class?
  • What do we speak to these students about?
  • What do children think of their classmates? What gives them these impressions?
  • What can we do differently? Are there changes that we should be making?
  • Are these impressions based on something that we’re saying or doing, or something else altogether?

Here we are thinking that we’re communicating in one way to children, and then we suddenly find out that maybe we’re communicating in another way entirely. We’re now left wondering what other students might think of each other, what this child might think, and what we can do to change their perceptions, if necessary. 

I think of all the times that these thoughts might be out there, but are never expressed. And then when they are, they give us pause, not just over a specific situation, but with wonders about what else people might be thinking and feeling. As adults and educators, at times it feels as though we’re responsible for so much. But just like with parents, what we want most for kids is for them to know that they are safe, happy, and loved. How do you know that they feel this way? Do the perceptions of others matter when it comes to these feelings, and if so, how do you address any misconceptions? I’m left wondering what we can do differently.