Tomorrow is Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. We celebrate a man who gave his life to make America look a little more like we wanted everyone to believe we were. At school, the students have the day off. The staff has professional development.
We'll spend most of the day working on positive behavior intervention and supports. I've been through this tango before, only this time I know the tune. I'm looking forward to it; it had a big positive effect in my last school district, and it made a huge change in the way I approach my job. There are a lot of posts with tags about PBiS on this blog. I wonder about my colleagues' receptivity to it this time, and I'm a little afraid that we're going to begin work without 80% staff buy-in. But we'll see. I've had a lot of 1-on-1 conversations with my colleagues, many of whom are just better at positive student management than I am, and nobody disagrees with the basic principles: identifying desired behaviors, teaching desired behaviors, supporting desired behaviors. Their hesitation comes, as is always the case for people who already have too much to do, from a fear that this will be one more damn thing they have to do that everyone is going to forget about by August anyway, so why invest the energy? I think this "reform"* has staying power, though; I know it does for me.
I can't help but reflect on the irony of planning a system on changing bad behavior on a holiday in which we celebrate someone's bad behavior. If King had followed the rules, he would have faded into history. Instead, he defied behavior expectations, responded neither to positive nor negative behavior responses, and helped lead a movement of making people a little more equal.
*"Reform" is in quotes because PBiS is something that good teachers have always done. The change is doing it systematically--everybody does it about the same way for about the same things--and deliberately--you know ahead of time what you're looking for, and you do it fairly consistently.