At the beginning of a school year, I had a student named Michael (not his real name) who had some issues the previous year, so I decided to welcome him outside the school before he even walked in. Now I assumed that he might have had this “talk” before, but I wanted to change it up. Instead of giving him a reminder about his “behaviour” and being an example to others, I asked him to look out for a couple of younger students that were struggling at school. I told him about his ability to influence others would ensure that he could be my “go-to” to help those other kids. Showing not only that I valued him, but that he was going to be a part of making the school a better place, empowered him to have a very successful year.
We always talk about “managing” people or students, but you manage “stuff”, not humans. Instead of trying to “fix” a behaviour, it is important to tap in and try to unleash what people already have. Think of your own work situation? Do you not go over and above for a boss that not only values you, but taps into you for the well being of your organization? The principals that trusted me with leadership were the ones that I would go above and beyond for and would gladly do the things that I once hated.
Kids are no different.
Show that you value them and their strengths, tap into them, and get them to help you create a better environment for everyone. It won’t necessarily be perfect, but for me, I found it to be so much better.