With teachers and students heading back to school, it’s a great time to examine the double-edge sword of a habit. The good news is that for students who have had positive experiences and interactions with past teachers and peers, they will most likely enter classrooms ready to develop healthy relationships accordingly. Having experienced safety and belonging, they anticipate it, and contribute to this pattern.
Unfortunately, students who have had damaged relationships or negative interactions will most likely bring these behavioral patterns into the classroom, as well. Having experienced frustration and failure, they anticipate it and behave accordingly – in a way that perpetuates the negative cycle.
There is a silver lining. With new students and a new school year, we can develop new habits right from the start. When a student (or parent … or colleague) is negative, complains or argues, we can interrupt the pattern by changing our interactions with that individual. Behavior occurs in a relationship, and if we don’t contribute to a problem, negative behavioral interchanges are less likely to happen.
Make it a great year by building healthy relationships. It can be a lot of work at first, but the outcome is more than worth the effort. And when individuals seem to be working against your efforts, just breathe and take things one interaction at a time.