Every so often when I sit down in a meeting with a parent, they openly admit their strange emotion about sitting in the principal’s office. That place in their lives as a child they never wanted to go. I usually chuckle and we share a funny story from our childhood. But there is an element to being an administrator which means that I maintain the safety and security of our school including working with students who make poor choices.

In an event that I have these opportunities, I see it as that… an opportunity. Children are children. I believe they live in the moment and try to be the best they can be. And I believe that children make mistakes. Many times, these mistakes happen because they do not know how to respond in a situation. So when these mistakes occur, it is our job to talk with the child. Seek to understand and then teach.

This year, our staff is spending time building our understanding of Conscious Discipline. This is a program that provides skills to teachers and students based on brain research, child development and developmentally appropriate strategies. We foster emotional intelligence for all. And it has been an interesting year to work as a team to support and talk about this learning.

I am encouraged as I listen to the language teachers use with each other and with students. Seeking to understand our students and the behaviors that may arise helps us to teach our children better strategies for life.

I hope it isn’t fear that students feel when they come to talk with me but rather a place where they can be heard. Of course, I see nervous wiggles and understand the child is having to talk about their mistake. But I believe that when a child leaves my office, they feel they have some better ideas of what to do differently. They understand the impact their actions had on others. And hopefully, our community of learning is stronger.