Monday, May 3, 2010

Teacher's Class Rewards

One of my kiddos was complaining about how another kiddo's teacher was rewarding their class, because it was so much better than how their class was rewarded.  I wasn't thrilled how my complaining kiddo seemed to have an "entitlement" attitude, you know "I deserve a cool party for gracing the teacher with my presence".  It wasn't a good time for a discussion since we were pulling into the church parking lot.

This morning I asked my youngest kiddos how they would reward a class if they were the teacher.  One said they would reward students with thumbs up, happy grams (notes home) and positive phone calls home.  The anti-reward would be having students write their names on the board.  Interestingly enough, this is the child who was receiving the cool reward.  The complaining child chose the marble in the jar system that actually turned out to be a classroom jar, and smaller group jars so misbehaving students wouldn't get marbles taken out of the class jar, just their group jar.  The parties for filling the jars wouldn't be lame, and they wouldn't be food related.  The students would have a part in choosing the parties. 

Most importantly, we had a good conversation about balancing rewards with discipline and the challenges teachers face with time, money and energy to follow through with the rewards.  We talked about teachers involving parents in the process.  We also talked about the frequency of rewards.  If students are rewarded too often, it's not special anymore; too infrequently and students loose their motivation.  If teachers aren't using rewards, they're usually stuck to punishments like extra essays.

The conversation was good insight for me as a parent and as a Cub Scout leader.  Do I have an effective balance of rewards? I decided that I'm OK with the scouts since we have so much fun at our den meetings, it's like a reward in itself; and I don't have any disciple issues.  As a parent, there is always room for improvement.  It's great food for thought especially as we approach the summer!

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