"Why Do You Only See the Bad, Mrs. Ripp?"

“Why do you always notice me when I am bad, Mrs. Ripp?…”

I stand there, stopped in my tracks.  Is that what I do?  Only notice this child when they have done something I didn’t want, when they have done something “bad?”  Do I ever praise them for when they are on task, not poking their neighbor, or just simply working really well?  I think I do, at least I hope I do and yet, this child is on my radar more frequently than others.  The level of distraction is just so high and the level of interference with others a constant.  Do I ever just say, “Nice work…” or just bite my tongue altogether?  I am not sure.

Perceived negative behavior zeroes us in wherever we are.  The people that speak the loudest.  The child that moves the most.  The student that just cannot get to work because they just have to do that one more annoying thing that you swear they know annoys you the very most out of all annoying things.  So if we let it, soon, that behavior is all we ever see.  We only see them moving when they shouldn’t, we only see them messing about, we only see them breaking all of the unwritten rules we have worked so hard to establish.  We only see the bad.

Why not give them a break?  Why not let them move about if that is what they need?  Why not smile or even just hold our words and let them shine for a little bit?  Fill them up rather than tear them apart?  Focus our energies elsewhere?  Just for a moment at least.  They know they are moving, they know they are poking, they know they are not working, and yet, let them figure it out.  Let them feel that we don’t just see the bad, we see the whole, and that whole is good enough.

image from icanread

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