"What's your mantra going to be?" That's what my secretary asked me the day I stood in the office and told my story - the one about a student's perplexing and frustrating behaviors. Haven't we all told that story a time or two? It's usually one that can't easily be resolved, but my secretary's question was the perfect response. She's heard my classroom mantra PD. She knows how strongly I believe in the power of words. And so began a quest for the words that would help me stay the course on behalf of this little person while hopefully preserving my own peace of mind.
I turned to Kids 1st From Day One by Christine Hertz and Kristine Mraz who have been my guides on the side since day one of my school year. I'm in love with and challenged by the words they share from Katherine Reynolds Lewis. Can't behaving a certain way vs. not wanting to are two very different things. I can say from personal experience that the latter is an easy copout to embrace.
Hertz and Mraz encourage teachers to believe that if a child could do something, he would. That mindset demands a different approach to challenges. Empathy and grace come to mind and maybe even a sliver of hope - hope that with the right scaffolds and supports, a child can be taught the skills necessary for social and emotional success, just like he can be taught to read or write.
So my mantra? If he could, he would.
I've been teaching long enough to know that five words aren't going to magically resolve any issues come Monday morning, but I know they have the power to change my mindset for the better.
If he could, he would.