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DrivingPigeon 09-15-2010 09:48 AM

What to say to other teachers?
This is my first year using the RCA. So far I have introduced almost everything (morning meeting, closing circle, take a break chair, class rules), and we've been in school 10 days. I think the kids are doing pretty well. It's kindergarten, so they take a little bit longer to get into the swing of things, but I'm using a lot of modeling and praise, and I'm impressed with their progress so far.

The past few years I used individual rewards, table rewards, and whole-class rewards. It was costly and time-consuming, and kids would expect rewards for everything. Another teacher who spends some time in my classroom came in this morning to talk to me about doing rewards. Her daughter goes to our school, and her teacher uses individual rewards. In her daughter's classroom, each child has a pocket on a poster. If they are caught doing expected behaviors, they receive a piece of green paper for their pocket. When they earn 5 papers they get a prize (a small toy). The teacher who was telling me about this system thought it might be good for me to use, because she thinks I have a lot of kids who would benefit from using it.

I explained to her that I was trying not to do rewards, and then I told her a little bit about the RCA, and how I wanted kids to do things for the right reasons, not so they would get a prize. I must admit, though, it really ruined my morning...I know she only meant well, but I felt like someone was saying, "Your kids are out of control" when I think that they are really doing well. I also feel like I was very defensive when I was talking to her, but I felt offended! She kept giving me suggestions for how I could incorporate rewards, and I kept shooting them all down.

No one in my school uses the RCA, and I don't think anyone has even heard of it. I just don't know how to explain what I'm doing without sounding defensive and getting upset. This is difficult to do in a school filled with rewards. Any advice?

Also, do you guys think it would be appropriate for me to do a whole-class reward? During closing circle we could reflect on our day as a community, and then move a space on a game board (or something like that) to work towards a pajama day or something? I did this in past years, but I struggled with judging how the "whole" class did. Some kids are always doing what they're supposed to be, so that isn't fair. Ugh, I'm so frustrated!

rSquirrel 09-15-2010 02:35 PM

Keep doing what you are doing!

It is so important to teach children to do things because it is the right thing to do. Not because you get something out of it. I am lucky to be in a school which is all Rc and the principal strongly promotes it. (even at our staff meetings we have greeting, sharing, activity and message LOL)

Rewards get costly like you said and I think its doing a disservice to the kiddos (don't flame me people)

We want to be creating good citizens of our communities and you are doing just that! You are teaching them to be kind and respectful because its the right thing to do!

Keep at it!!

Last year we created an acts of kindness board. Wehn someone did something kind for you, you could write it on a sticky note and stick it on the board. Our goal was 100. We didn't get prizes or a party for it. :P I don't know if that is against RC or not.

Maybe you could tie it into recognition at an assembly? Or on the announcements in the morning? Just recognizing the kindergartens for working so hard on being kind and respectful citizens of the school?

I don't know!:p

mobleya 09-15-2010 03:50 PM

I agree!
Yes, keep doing what you're doing! You know you're teaching kids what's best for them and will be the most beneficial in the long run. This is my first year too, but I'm really liking what I'm seeing and the conversations I have with my students.

I also struggle with when to do the "fun" things if they're not tied to a class goal of some kind. I was thinking about assigning a certain day to do pajama day (right before Thanksgiving break??), and then maybe a movie day before winter break.. something around those lines. Then the kids still get to do the fun things that other classes are doing, but it's not because they did something to earn it. I don't know...

Mrs. R :) 09-15-2010 05:42 PM

You can do it!
Even if those teachers are out in the parking lot waiting to school ya... You are your childrens' advocate.

Keep at it. You don't owe anyone an explanation. They will see the effects of your RC practice soon enough. Then they'll be coming to you to ask what magic you are using.

Just smile and say, "Great idea. Thanks!" Move on and refocus on your kids. That's why they are there and they will never disappoint...

DrivingPigeon 09-16-2010 12:58 PM

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone.

I know I'm doing the right thing because of what the kids were saying today during closing circle. I almost had tears in my eyes...We did the "5 Tribles" Tribes activity where the children point to the Trible that describes how they are feeling. So many of them pointed to the happy one because, "I like school, because everyone is nice to me here." :) Some of them pointed to the sad face because one boy fell and cut his lip at recess. I was so proud of their empathy. A few children pointed to the sad face because they had to visit the take a break chair for making bad choices. I was happy that they were reflecting on their poor choices.

This class is just so much more caring than my classes in previous years, and it's so great to see!!!

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