Last week I received this email:
Hi Justin, hope all is going well for you. I’m — one of the OT’s at LIS. I was wondering if you have a few minutes if you could stop by to talk to me about a student in Mrs. —– class. I’m in room — all day today.
When I get an email from a colleague like this I like to go find out what is going on right away. I immediately went to speak to her. To make a long story short one of the students was upset about something from my class when they went down to her class. After a quick conversation about the student, I left her office.
I had a decision to make. I could go on back to my office and continue to try to get everything set up for the year and keep my head above water, or I could go and make sure that the relationship between the student and I was not frayed.
You can probably guess from the title that I walked down to the student’s class and asked their teacher if I could speak with the child quickly. The teacher agreed and I was able to speak with the student in the hallway. I had a pretty good relationship with the student and I asked them if I could put my arm around them as we walked and talked down the highway. They responded yes and we spoke about why they had been upset. Once I made sure the relationship was repaired and the incident was addressed we walked back to class together.
A couple of thoughts occurred to me about this situation. I could have first repaired this relationship sooner. I can give you multiple reasons why I didn’t; however, what I need to remember is you can’t move on to the next task until the prior one is finished. This means that I may have a slightly agitated teacher who lost a couple minutes of prep or was slightly late to a meeting because I refused to leave relationships frayed.
The second thought was that it was amazing that the OT took the time to email me and make sure that both the student and I were able to repair our relationships.
Finally, I am glad that the day did not end before I was able to address this situation. Issues no matter how big or small are best dealt with as soon as possible. This was a minor issue to me but obviously bigger to the child.
If you take away anything from this blog it is that relationships are more important than content. Next time there is a conflict in your class, especially as a Physical Education teacher, find a place and a time to find the student and address it. It can be a simple question such as, “We good?”.
I am sure most of us know and do this already. And sometimes we just need a reminder.