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by Mike Brock
I had a "Positive Discipline Moment" today. One of our eighth grade teachers came to me with a student problem. It seems that Jennifer, the student, brought some kind of technological wizardry into Spanish class, some kind of computerized note pad that also has the capability of altering TV channels and sound, like a remote control. Well, our Spanish teacher was using a video in her class presentation but, strangely, the sound kept going up and down and the channel kept changing back and forth. Jennifer was having the time of her life-and so was the rest of the class-as she calmly and surreptitiously pushed the right buttons, figuratively and literally.
Alas, she was discovered. But in spite of the evidence, she adamantly denied it. Would I talk with her? the teacher requested.
In walks Jennifer, with that oh-jeez-I've-really-done-it-now look. She sits down with me at my conference table, head bowed, waiting for the lecture. I started with, "Hi, Jennifer, thanks for coming to see me. Tell me how this thing works." "Uh, well, uh . . . um, well, ya' see, it's like an electronic note pad, only you can like also use it for... like a remote. Like." "So what was happening in class?" "Well, like I was using it to turn the sound up and down and switch the channels." "It can do all that?" "Yeah." "Well, what problem does this cause?" "Well, I guess it makes it hard for the teacher to teach." "Yeah, probably so. What do you think you can do to solve this little problem?" "Well, I could like leave the electronic note pad in my locker and not take it into Spanish class." "That's a great idea. I appreciate it. Thanks. So what's going on in your life besides school?"
"Well, . . ."
I really don't think Jennifer will be doing that again. Not because she was punished for it, but because she was treated respectfully and given an opportunity to solve the problem on her own. She was allowed to feel good . . . and so did I! I love this stuff!

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