It finally happened. After two and a half years of teaching, a fight broke out in my classroom. It was not a happy moment for me or for my students. It left a lot of questions about what I was doing and how my class was going, and it seemed as though my students were looking to me for answers. I knew that this couldn't be left unaddressed. What was I supposed to tell my class the next day? How could I move forward after this and treat it as a "lesson learned? "
First, I told them all of the positives that I noticed after the fight.
I told them how proud I was that students were able to step in to break it up. How much care for each others' well-being that showed. I told them how mature they were after everything settled down. How they were able to complete the activity
I also thanked them for staying after to make sure that I was ok. I told them how grateful I was for those who noticed that I was visibly shaken and stayed behind to ask if I was ok.
Lastly, I told them that their actions have consequences. I said that people take comments different ways and that what may seem like a joke to some can be considered offensive by others. I told them that anger and frustration may not be visible, but it is something that is real and valid. I told them that violence is never a good way to left out anger and frustration, and that every single one of them has a responsibility to stand up against violence. I said that in a time when our country is more divided than ever, we need to be able to stand together as a community and use our words to diffuse conflict.
I love and learn from my students every day. Some of my students come from homes in which most of what they hear is yelling and verbal abuse. It is our duty as educators to teach students to use their voices break the chain of violence to ignite change within their homes and communities.
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