Ideally, everyone is walking into every class knowing that we are there to learn, grow, and get better. But I teach in a middle school and not the end of a feel-good movie. It’s easy to communicate intentions in the good times, but what about those hard and awkward situations that need to be addressed? That is when it is easy to sound punitive.
When it comes to safety in the classroom, things have to be addressed right away. Setting the groundwork, pre-loading the language, and making sure that we can circle back to positive intentions and the larger goals of the class. It takes years to practice the wordings, lay the groundwork, and making a plan to raise the ambitions of our students. Communicating intentions starts long before the term starts.