We can hold students accountable without punishing them.
I learned early in my teaching (19 years) and coaching (13) careers that it is my responsibility to create a positive environment for instruction. Not just for student learning, but for my own sanity. The better I am out of work, the better I enter work. The more fun I have, the more fun the students have.
And when things go sideways, there is no one coming to the rescue. If I have to outsource classroom management to the administration, I am outsourcing control of my classroom to someone else which emboldens students who are empowered by the social currency of defiance and disruption. I have to be the one who manages discipline and only use the referral as a last resort. This was brutally obvious when enforcing mask mandates.
When administrators are worried about how things look on paper and don't trust or support teachers, it creates animosity and undermines the learning environment in the classroom. Some students will only learn consequences in the classroom as they have witnessed empty threats their entire lives.
Why I don't like trainings -
I have rarely gone to a training and felt like I was being given "tools." I often feel like I was given more acronyms and work by people who were in the classroom for a few years then jumped at the chance to be education consultants who are well-versed in educational theory. People who have never taught in the age of Snapchat, tiktok, and more recently, a pandemic. People who don't know the character of the school and encourage systems or tactics that aren't always applicable. People who are selling programs that teachers know will be replaced in a year or two when something new and shiny comes along. Or the administration changes.
The best inservice I ever attended empowered me to be a better person through treating others better. It was by a fish thrower at Pike Place Market in Seattle. He broke down their strategy to reach customers and it was about valuing the interactions and the customers, not patronizing them. Reaching people is a life skill. There was an acronym involved (of course) but the ideas were universal and could be applied for relationships with anyone and everyone.
As I think I previously commented, 2021-2022 was maybe the best year of my career. I am not a hero for being a teacher, but I have accepted that my job as an educator is one of the most important jobs in the country. Lives hinge on the high school educational experience and that's a me responsibility. Not the principal's office. But sometimes there is no other choice. In those moments I hold my breath and hope the administration has my back.