Connections Quarterly Winter 2019 - Restorative Practices - Page 36

S TAR T ING WITH A PAUSE Continued from page 33 engagement by using Up for Learning’s resources ( • Safety: Am I doing what I need to do to stay grounded and regulated? Is my body language threatening? Do I at- tend to what constitutes a trauma-sen- sitive classroom/school? Strengthen your skills with the book, Fostering Re- silient Learners: Strategies for Creating a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom (www.ascd. org/publications/books/overview/fos- tering-resilient-learners.aspx) by Kris- ten Souers and Pete Hall. While developing RC skills may be daunt- ing, it is worth your efforts many times over. With this approach you are able to say goodbye to power struggles and the grow- ing stress of cajoling kids to engage or be- ing at “war” with kids over behaviors. You become allies. It will require time, humility, and self-awareness. So how did I respond to John? As you read, listen for P.A.I.R and the principles in action. I pause and inhale deeply. On the exhale I feel my feet on the ground and consciously let go of the negative assumptions I am forming about John. I say, without sarcasm, “Wow. You must have had a rough time in English if those are the first words out of your mouth on the first day! On behalf of all English teachers, I am sorry for whatever has made you so un- happy with English.” John, I will learn later, is not quick to soften or smile or even respond. Page 34 Winter 2019 “ With this approach you are able to say good- bye to power struggles and the growing stress of cajoling kids to en- gage or being at “war” with kids over behav- iors. You become allies. ” So I continue, “In all seriousness. I’m commit- ted to making this English class not ‘suck’ for you. But I am going to need two things from you: I need your willingness to work together on this challenge, AND I will need you to change the way you enter class. Your opinion matters to me, but having a student say ‘Eng- lish f’ing sucks’ as they enter class really takes the wind out of my sails and makes it hard to do my best. Do you think you can do those two things and would you be willing to meet later so I can hear more about why English isn’t your favorite subject and what we can do about that?” John nodded his head with a grunt. John would continue to groan about Eng- lish, but he did follow through on his side of the bargain. Together we found ways to make English class less painful and he never did enter class like that again. Instead he slowly became my advocate when stu- CSEE Connections