The Problem With Punishing Emotions
Once, I gave one of my 7th grade students a detention for being angry. Admittedly, I didn’t realize exactly what I was doing when the word sprang from my lips in utter exhaustion and frustration; instead, I saw myself as passing down a reasonable consequence for “misbehaving.” It wasn’t until later that night—as my wife and I discussed how important it is to release emotions so they don’t build into something unhealthy—that I realized what I had done and, possibly, what much of classroom management reinforces in our kids.
Punishment. It’s a word no one much enjoys contemplating. We did not choose to become teachers because we enjoy punishment, nor do we thrive on the prospect of having the chance to dish out consequences for bad behavior. However, classroom management invariably becomes a key topic as we begin (and continue) our teaching careers, and classroom management quickly devolves into a euphemism for punishment in many classrooms.
Some schools advocate “take a break” areas of the room, where students can go to catch their breath and calm down; others simply hand out detentions or force students to stay in for recess. Policies vary, but the nature of an approach that rebukes students for displaying uncomfortable emotions in uncomfortable ways...
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- Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning
- Roanoke City Public Schools, Roanoke, VA
- The Berkeley Institute, HAMILTON, Bermuda
- Amargosa Valley Elementary School, Amargosa Valley, NV
- Round Rock ISD, Round Rock, TX
- Regional Area Partner
- Focus EduVation, US