We did a little rearranging last week! Math classes are now being held in Mrs. Spencer's office. We moved the soft seating into the main room to create an inviting atmosphere. The teachers and students also talked together last week about what kinds of things, other than physical arrangement, can foster an inviting and productive atmosphere at school. As the students continue to make their own paradigm shift, it is a good thing to talk about ideas that set us apart from many other schools. We have had very interesting lunchtime conversation about the difference in our approach to discipline. The children notice and appreciate being viewed as persons. They brought up the fact that they like not having cards or sticks to pull (or what we adults would call a system of behaviorism) to try to make them behave. Some expressed that those systems set them on edge. Others said that they made them more concerned with not getting caught than with behaving rightly. Several brought up instances in which students tried to undercut one another to get someone else in trouble. They all--even the little guys--said it made them feel like babies. I think Mason might say that what they really meant was that behavioristic systems make one feel like less of a person.
The poster pictured on the right above outlines the way in which we approach conduct. It reads:
Living in Right Relationship at School: Being Rightly Related to God and One Another
1. Respect those in authority through your words, actions, and attitudes.
2. Respect others, their possessions, and their personal space.
3. Respect our hosts and one another by keeping the building clean and orderly.
Putting Things Right
1. Repentance: Acknowledging our own wrongdoing,
2. Reconciliation: Communicating respectfully and righting the wrong, and
3. Restoration: Giving and receiving forgiveness and then putting it from our minds.
As issues have arisen at school, whether between a student and a teacher or between two or more students, this is how we have dealt with it. Person to person, restoring relationship. We are learning that sometimes there are natural consequences for our choices that we have to live with even after going through this process, and we must learn to face these manfully. But I think that, more importantly, we are learning the meanings of Righteousness and Grace.