Children are Always Watching and Listening to the Adults!

Posted by Monica Crowley on 4/22/2019 7:00:00 AM

 They are Always Watching and Listening!

As an experienced educator and mom, I sometimes think and feel that I deserve “time off” for good behavior. There are times when I go home at night and I have very little left in the tank to finish out the evening, let alone help prepare dinner or find time to check in with family.

I have worked very hard to always be aware of my words and actions in front of my children and the many students I have taught and support as an administrator. I know that each and every interaction I have with a student (and colleague or parent) is to be treated as if that is the most important connection I make that day. I like to think that I am often successful, but I am human! When I have reservations about a conversation, I try to find time and reflect on my contribution, and if I am not satisfied with my input I make an effort to follow up and clarify.

My approach to interactions has been reinforced as I do my part to reinvigorate the implementation the Olweus Anti-Bullying and Prevention Program at Lawrence School. I have engaged in numerous conversations and have followed up with students who need guidance and direction. These interactions continue to affirm the need to model the behavior I hope to see.

When I speak to students, I always begin by asking them to share with me their understanding of the situation. I listen with understanding and empathy as they communicate what they perceive transpired. When they are finished, I repeat back to them what I heard to seek clarity, and ask questions to put the pieces together so we are communicating about the facts. It is important that I remain neutral and do not pass judgment on them or their communication. I treat them with respect and kindness while I make clear there is no room for inappropriate behaviors or bullying-like behaviors. These conversations are not easy for many children to have, especially with an administrator.  However, I do believe that they are important learning lessons and experiences that add to their toolbox for problem solving.

One of the key components of the Olweus Program is the On-the-Spot Interventions. All the adults in the building have been trained to intervene when they see that students are engaged in inappropriate behaviors. They are to follow steps that include stopping and identifying the behavior, acknowledging the student who was mistreated, reminding students of school expectations and providing follow up. Staff is to intervene while modeling a neutral tone and respect as they are speaking to children who may have made a mistake and need to be supported on how to navigate social situations.

Parents, school staff and other caring adults have an equally important role to play in preventing bullying and unkind behaviors for all our students. Adults need to model the behaviors and Habits of Mind we want to see in the children as often as possible. For they are watching and listening to the adults in their lives all the time, even though they may pretend to not be interested.



Monica Crowley