Ultimatum update

I posted this in the comments, but thought I'd update here as well, re: my homeboy Drama King and my possibly unwise ultimatum.

I got very thoughtful comments from several people, but OKP's especially made me think.
I think you did the right thing. Let me start there.

I just don't know how it's going to work on your end. How does he know what it means to not be trusted? What does that look like?

If the trust is gone, does that mean he can't come to your room? You stop riding him about his work, or requiring him to come in? You don't call him by his first name (professional distance)? You don't give him tasks? Or treats?

Does it mean more detentions, more often? Calls home?

If the loss of trust has a consequence for him, then maybe he can try to earn it back.

I still think you did the right thing.
As soon as I read that, I was like, "....oh. Right. What does that actually MEAN." So then I thought about it, because, yeah, forever, awfully long time, and what DOES it look like, and decided that it would mean that he was no longer allowed in my room for lunch, but would be able to earn the trust back if he got the work done.

(Didn't end up being much of an issue, though, because he came in with the work. It wasn't completed, but it was a lot closer, and it was good enough. He'd stopped because he was stuck on where to go next with the piece, so he came in early this morning (he was absent yesterday), I helped him think through it, and he got it done.)

But that, I think, is why the ultimatum was the wrong choice - it didn't necessarily mean anything. It would have been better to be more concrete and have specific, measurable consequences, like not being able to come to my room, or like not being able to call me Mom, as with Honey.

I don't think telling him that I would have lost trust in him was wrong; I'm completely with TeachEnEspanol:
[T]his is a very important life lesson about the kind of man he is going to become and it is a true test of how much he values the relationships that means something to him.
He needs to know that promises should matter, and do, and breaking them isn't something to do lightly.

And as Rachel said, I could've asked him what it looked like. That would have been interesting for me, and useful. It's always good to ask kids what they think consequences are/should be. Gives good insight.

I'm really glad it worked out, that he did keep his promise. Next time I do that though, I'll be more clear on what my grandiose statement actually means.

(Also - see? This is why blogging is awesome! Because I got totally good insights and thoughts from super smart teachers whom I would never have otherwise known! Yaaaaaaay Internet!)


OKP said...

OK, I'm zooming through my tabs, here, and BAM...there I am like a total rockstar on some awesome teacher's blog. I am humbled. Thank you. Back atcha.

Rachel said...

I'm all about the collaboration!! Thanks for the update on Drama King. I'm glad he pulled through! I think you're pretty much the expert on establishing rapport & relationships with kids, so I feel like a complete poseur trying to give YOU relationship input...but I'm honored to help anyway. :)

"I'm a dreamer but I ain't the only one Got problems but we love to have fun" -K'naan, "Dreamer"

I teach eighth grade Language Arts at an urban school. My kids kick ass and will change the world. I want everyone to know.
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