Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Art of Apologizing

We've had a rough couple weeks as a class.  It's April, and things that didn't bother us before are now getting on our nerves.  We are losing our patience with each other.  We're frustrated easily.  We feel like we've sat next to the same person all year even though this is a different seating arrangement.  Spring has sprung.

Please tell me I'm not the only teacher going through this with her/his students.  This. is. painful.  It's not their's just that time of year.

It's like starting over.  How to show patience.  How to use manners.  How to ask a friend to please stop doing something.  How to take turns.  How to not yell when you are frustrated.  We've had to reflect on why we were wrong, fill out a few "think sheets", and we've had to say a lot of apologies.

It's hard to say I'm sorry.

I probably won't show that one in class.  But it is one of the hardest parts of being a kid...or an adult for that matter.  I would also say it's one of the most important lessons to learn, and the sooner the better.  A great apology makes a world of difference.  Not only can it make a situation better, but it can also rebuild trust between two people.  That's a big thing in a classroom.

My sister sent me the post "A Better Way to Say I'm Sorry" from cupacocoa.  I love how she breaks it down and gives great examples.  I am going to go over it with my students this week.  There's also a great description over at Kid's Health about how to say I'm sorry.

Sometimes the right thing to do is just say "I was wrong. (or, what I did was wrong.)  How can I fix it?".

After these last few weeks, I've been trying to figure out how I can approach my students with this concept and help them see the importance of acknowledging our mistakes and presenting a more heartfelt apology than "I'm sorrrryyyyyy."  If there's one thing I've seen these past few weeks more than ever, it's that parents are going through the exact same thing.  They want to help their child make good choices, but sometimes it's overwhelming given the circumstances.  Sometimes we're so overwhelmed by the action that we forget it's a lesson to be learned.

I decided to revamp the "think sheets" I was sending home.  Sometimes I don't even send it home, I just make sure we walk through it together and I keep it on file.  Obviously, if it's a big enough behavior issue, it will get sent home for a signature.

I decided to tweak the original page I sent home for parents to sign, but also include a section on "I'm Sorries" (spellcheck has just informed me that "sorries" is not a word) and the art of a great apology to add to the back as information for students, but also a teaching tool for parents to use with their students.  Here's what I came up with.

The Art of Apologizing- which includes these two pages, plus four "mini-posters" to hang in a small space in your room that tell the three main steps to saying you're sorry: 1. Taking responsibility (I'm sorry), 2. Saying what you are sorry for, and 3. Telling how you will "fix it" next time.  You can get these pages and mini-posters at my TpT store for $1.25...and considering it's something you use all year long, it's not a bad deal!

Hopefully we will survive the rest of this school year (and our field trip on Monday!) without any huge disasters.  We will keep working on this, though.  It will stick at some point, right?  


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