Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A little Porter follow up

Y'all this is amazing. I'm sitting at lunch, listening to an audio book (The Kitchen Help) and blogging all at the same time. Constanza would be proud.

So I wanted to follow up about the Porter. When he got home from school the other day I casually asked him how things had gone in the classroom that day, only a slight variation from my normal "how was school?"  Porter's face changed and he kind of raised his eye brows worriedly. Porter easily admitted there had been a small incident- he had drawn a poop emoji during math. Apparently that caused a lot of attention and distracted a lot of other students. Is now a good time to interject the factoid that Porter got a poop emoji pillow for Valentine's Day? What can we say, he's a poop emoji fan. 

We talked about it a little more and he said it made him feel embarrassed getting called out, and that he's not used to being in trouble. It was obvious through both his facials and articulation that he didn't like the way he felt when this was all going down. We talked about what those feelings are probably telling him and how to let those feelings guide him to choices that get his desired outcome. All in all it was a good convo and I just left it at that. 

Today I went in and talked with him and his teacher at her request. Let me preface by saying I absolutely love his teacher. She has definite boundaries but is one that teaches with love and is very encouraging of students to be their self and use their innate personalities. She is not a strict disciplinarian in the conventional sense. She uses arbitrary ways to bring out the best in the individual. I really look up to her and have tried to employ both her patience and tactics when dealings with my kids. 

I just wanted to highlight some of the things she told me and/or Porter so that I can remember for future reference.
1) she emphasized his role as a leader and the necessity to use that power wisely and for the good. 
2) she had heard him refer to himself as the class clown and that concerned her and she really felt the need to intercede and help him change his mentality. She said when kids choose an identity for themselves they put a lot of pressure on themselves to fulfill that identity. She wanted to squash that idea of a class clown while in its infancy. 
3) she helped him to see how his decisions/actions made others feel (annoyed, frustrated, sad, angry).  She pointed out that often times the kids they other students feel entertained or think it's funny when in reality their feelings are opposite. 
4) she's helping him come up with a plan to fight those impulsive actions. 

I appreciated so many of these things she shared. I most appreciated that she was choosing to deal with this before it had turned into something bigger. She simply saw the path he was getting on and foresaw the trajectory and knew he was better than where he was going. It was yet another reminder of the important stage of development the kids are in. These later elementary years are so formative and important because we actually can still influence the kids! It was an encouraging reminder to me to identify small problems and take the incentive to help redirect the kids to a better path before the problem takes deep root. 

Another point I really focused on this incident was separating Porter as a person from his actions, teaching and reminding him that his mistakes don't define him and although he made a misstep that in no way devalues him as a person. (Shame vs guilt). 

Anyway Porter is an awesome kid and so glad he has a patient teacher who gifts him the luxury of being himself and encouraging that personal growth.

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