New Procedures in Delivering Consequences

I have changed the procedures for how I will deliver consequences to the students in my classroom. After my own reflection of what I would appreciate a teacher doing with my own children, I decided to make this change. As a father to my own children at home, I believe that what I teach them in my own household is the foundation for how they grow up, interpret the world, and will ultimately grow up to make their own decisions on their own. Because of this, and also because I'm generally also very picky and type-A (those who know me well will likely laugh at this point), I prefer my own methods of doing things and knowing what is going on with my children when they are in the supervision of someone else who is not me or my wife. The same goes with giving consequences to my children.

What does this have to do with the classroom, you ask? Well, a typical consequence I might give to a student that is being disruptive in class might be to have them stay in during recess for a few minutes and write sentences repeatedly, such as "Mr. Riedl deserves my respect and full attention during class." However, I have learned that a consequence like this doesn't pack that much of a punch (figuratively). I figured that if I am having them stay in from recess as a consequence anyway, and their parents ought to stay informed about what is going on with their child, then why not have them write a letter to their parent(s) during that time, telling them how their day is going? That is something I would certainly appreciate as a parent who desires to work as a team with my own child's teacher to help guide them in the ways that we want them to go.

Prompt for student's letter
So, my plan is this: I will always give a warning as a courtesy. Although, they do not deserve this courtesy. It is a gift of grace I give them as a reminder, shown by their name on the whiteboard. If they continue to break my rules, then I will give them a consequence that hopefully fits their "crime." This is displayed as a check mark next to their name on the whiteboard. Their consequence will likely be to stay in from recess, they will write a few sentences for me, and then they will write a letter home to their parent(s) to keep them informed of their behavior. I will provide them with a pre-written prompt they can copy if they want (see image to the right), but they are certainly welcome to write it in their own words if they prefer. Because I diligently keep records of these situations when they occur, and also because I love technology, I will take a photo of their letter, email it to their parent of choice (if each parent happens to have a unique email address), and then keep their letter for my records. A couple of benefits to this method is 1) I don't need to worry about the child failing to deliver the letter, and 2) It will allow the parent/guardian time to reflect on how they want to discipline their child before they talk with them after school.

Example of student letter
My goal is that I would be able to work as a team with the parents/guardians of my students to better raise up young adults who can be held accountable for their actions. Often I encounter students who aren't at all worried about the consequences I give them at school, but are scared out of their minds if they know that they will get a consequence at home. I would like to bridge that gap and help them understand that consequences at school are just as important as consequences at home, and vice-versa. The parents have the right to know everything that goes on during the time they are away from their children, and the children ought to give an honest report of how their day went. When I ask my student which parent they want me to send the letter to, I would hope that their response would be "It doesn't matter, Mr. Riedl, because my parents are unified in their decisions of how to discipline me." I know that wouldn't be a typical response from a 5th grader, but the point is that I hope we are all working as a team. Our desire to teach and train these children in a way that glorifies the Lord is something that I hope we can all agree on.

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