As administrators, we are often responsible for disciplining children. When students misbehave, they are often sent to the office. There are many ways administrators can deal with children when they are sent to the office. The office can be seen as a venue of punishment or of care and understanding.
Office as One of Punishment
In this case, students are sent to the office to be punished or reprimanded for something they have done. The students are very likely talked to in a stern manner and are often made to sit in isolation from others. The administration in this type of office is often viewed as the “enemy” – the one who doles out this punishment, by these students, and likely their parents as well. Unfortunately, when students, who are having difficulty, are presented with this type of environment, they often shut down and, as a result, do not really take in what is being said or discussed with them.
Often, educators (both teachers and administrators) in this type of climate may not take the time needed to understand what is happening with the student that may contribute to the behaviour that has got this student to the office in the first place. Much of what is being decided with these children is done in a reactive manner, instead of being proactive.
Office As One of Care and Understanding
In this case, students are sent to the office for a number of reasons – when children are having difficulty, but also, when children may be thriving and may need acknowledgement for a job well done. This office isn’t seen as a negative place to visit.
When students are sent to this kind of office when they are having some difficulty, things are different. For the most part, students are talked to in a gentle manner and are shown mutual respect, care, and understanding. Administration is sure to give the students the time they need in order to try to understand what is happening with the child on this particular day or week, or month, or … The student’s challenges are seen as something much greater than this one incident on this one particular day. This type of administrator will do what is necessary to make the child feel comfortable enough to talk about what has happened.
The administration in the caring and understanding office try to understand the child. They realize that these individuals are, in fact, just kids. Yes, they may have struggles, but these administrators realize that coming down hard on these children isn’t going to do anything to make the situation better, and, in fact, may make matters much, much worse.
These understanding administrators strives to have the schoolhouse remain a place where students feel comfortable, welcome, accepted, and, above-all safe – both physically and emotionally. These administrators seek out ways to ensure the child’s success, not to aid in their failure. Student’s future is considered and their resiliency nurtured. Above all, these administrators believe in the success and future of all children and will do what they can to ensure their success.
What type of office is in your school?