Punked Out to an Authority Figure

The Lesson

8.7.16 Thirty FiveI wanted to help my kids avoid unnecessary problems with authority figures. Of course, I wasn’t so naive as to believe I could advise them so they would have no problems with authority figures. I just wanted them to learn that it is occasionally possible to de-escalate a situation. I wanted them to understand that what I was saying might keep them from turning an unfortunate situation into something much worse or deadly.

Too many of my kids had trouble with law enforcement or school officials. I have written before about the variety of kids we got at a CDS school. Some were there because they were criminals. Others were there for silly mistakes. And a few were there simply because they were teenaged idiots. They all needed advice for how to deal with the cops.

I told my kids the following true story about how I handled an encounter with law enforcement. To be truthful, I wasn’t ready for my students’ shocking response.

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The Two Worst Times

14 years oldHaving Trouble? Call Home!

Imagine I am a novice teacher. I’m having trouble with a student’s behavior. The kid is talking at inappropriate times, won’t take directions seriously – that sort of thing. Nothing dangerous, but still disruptive and/or disrespectful. I go to my principal (or my university professor) and explain the situation. What’s the first question they will ask? “Have you called home on the student?”

Calling home is the most often recommended behavior management tool we teachers are given. But I was (we are) never told what the given assumptions were with that advice. Nor was I told what to do if calling home didn’t produce any positive behavioral changes in the student.

Unspoken Assumptions

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