It’s one of those good signs, no question. The other day, SD was telling me about a new classmate she wasn’t so sure about: “He doesn’t listen to the teacher.” Wait, what? Last year that would have been SD herself she’d have been describing. The girl was constantly getting dinged for just this very infraction.
So this is different. SD. Is. Listening. To. Her. Teacher. Wow.
And this. On the way somewhere, SD was telling me a classmate got a prize for receiving a green ticket — green ticket means “good job.”) SD was a little annoyed she didn’t get a prize. I asked her if she’s ever gotten any green tickets. “Oh, sure, lots of them. It just wasn’t my turn for a prize today.” Huh? Lots of “good job” tickets? In only two weeks of school? So many she’s already blasé about being commended? See what I mean about the signs?
We lobbied for her current teacher, having heard great things about her from another parent, and what a change. Last year, it was all stick and no carrot, with a teacher who could never find it within herself, not once, to award SD with the highest mark on the diabolical color chart that tracked her behavior. Even after we’d spoken to her about it. Not once, All year. No wonder SD told us she didn’t like herself in December.
We’re coming to realize that there’s no substitute (sorry about that) for experience in a teacher. Give us a veteran any time. Newbies may be well-intentioned, but they haven’t yet internalized riot control. Their classrooms tend to be dominated by troublemakers. Everyone else is left with a stressed teacher impressed only by compliance. Forget imagination, creativity, or, well, learning. I think SD didn’t get props last year because, while not high-maintenance, she isn’t no-maintenance. Her current teacher’s more seasoned, more in-control, and thus more available for nurturing her kids.
Who’d have guessed that positive reinforcement was motivating? Well, duh, everyone.
Look at SD go. When I wake her in the morning this year, she’s amped-up and ready for comedy. These are great signs. When I opened her door this morning she popped out from under the covers with a mock-surprise “What?” and when I reached down to gently kiss her cheek, she licked me. And cracked herself up. Ick. But that’s how I like her, happy and knuckleheaded.