tradecraft…boundaries (part V)

fun with boundaries (in structured settings) exhibit B

nobody likes to have their authority tested and challenged…but, it can and will happen in this line of work…and sometimes, we can get bogged down in the muck of the job of setting boundaries for kids…let’s be honest–it can be challenging, upsetting, and downright exhausting…in fact, if you’re a loyal follower of this blog (thank you!:), i’m sure you can recall several stories that highlight those trials…however, like we saw in the last post…sometimes, when the the stars align just right and you sense a chance to do something beyond the routine…setting boundaries can be fun, too…

here’s another example of what i’m talking about from my classroom case files:

one day, a student (who we’ll call ‘bobby’) raised his hand and asked me a question…

bobby: can i step outside–to the hall–and call my work, it’s really important?

[i look at him for a moment, then nod my head…thinking, there’s only a couple of weeks left of school, what’s the harm?]

me: yep, make it quick

[so, bobby gets up and goes out into the hall…i continue on with the lesson for the day…]

10 minutes later, i walk out into the hall to call bobby back to class…i look one direction, then the other…i don’t see him anywhere…i think to myself, did he ‘dip out’ (skip out on class and leave school premises) or is he somewhere else in the building?!

so, i go back into my classroom and scan the crowd–looking for the most trustworthy male student in class…unfortunately, i don’t see him, so i settle on the next best thing…the most trustworthy male student runner-up

me: can you go down to the bathroom and see if bobby’s there?

[he gives me ‘a nod’ and heads out of the room…]

after a few minutes, ‘runner-up’ comes back to the room and shakes his head–the message is clear–no, he’s not there…

i frown, thinking to myself…damn, i just ‘got played’ (like a fiddle)press play on the charlie daniel’s band devil went down to georgia…

another student remarks that there was some kind of ‘end of year celebration’ going on at a class back at his home school and that he might’ve been on the way to that…

[we teach kids from surrounding district schools, they self-select (mostly) our courses as electives, get bussed to our location (a few kids drive themselves), then go back to their home schools for the rest of the day…i say “mostly self select” because, in some cases, counselors and administrators from the students’ home school have “highly encouraged” them to come take classes with us…often enough, they’ve “highly encouraged” the kids who are “a handful” at their schools and they want the troublemakers out-of-the-way for a couple of hours (sad but true)…in a few specific cases, i’ve imagined these same administrators and counselors sitting at their desks, laughing–muhahaha, muhahaha…as they look at the names of some of the “select few” they’ve dealt me]…

so, i tuck that piece of information away and finish off the last 15 minutes of class…

at this point, i’m paying really close attention to the time on the clock–and trying to reconstruct the ‘timing of things’..what time did i go out and check on him? what time did he leave my room? how much class time did he miss?

i calculate that he missed 25 minutes of class…in other words, he owes me 25 minutes for dippin’ out…

but there’s something else…he lied to my facewhen i was trying to help him out, no less?!

i mean, i’m pretty much like any other teacher around–i can’t stand it when kids lie to me…so, i’m thinking that he owes me “something more” than the 25 minutes because “lying” is an aggravating factor (making the boundary violation/offense more serious)…what “more” looks like at this point…i’m not sure…

i need to think…

as i reflect on the event, i remember that tomorrow is the day when we host our own “end of year bbq”–for the kids at our school–to show them how much we appreciate them…so, right away, i know he’s going to miss out on 25 minutes of that end of year fun–that thought makes me happy 🙂

we’re getting therethe ledger is just about balanced

but, i’m still feeling like i want to tack on a little “something special”…

as i go through my day, his case continues taking up space in the back of my mind…should i do this? should i do that?  then, i remember something about bobby…the memory leads me to my answer…for the entire semester, bobby has been talking up his post-secondary career…almost every day, for more than four months, he’s made mention of it to his classmates and i…for four months and counting, bobby hasn’t stopped talking about the navy and his plans to enlist…

it’s right at that moment, at the inception of that thought…that i know exactly what the “something special” is going to be…

and it makes me smile 🙂

[the next day]

the students file in and take their seats…

one student remarks that he heard bobby saying, mr. d.’s gonna be pissed at me for taking off like that…

i smile slightly and wait…

i see bobby come in and head towards his seat…wasting no time, i call him up to my desk…

[he walks up sheepishly]

me: so, yesterday…wanted some free time, eh?

bobby: yeah, i’m sorry…

me: so,  you owe me some time in the clas program–25 minutes–the time you skipped out on…then, you can join us in the courtyard for the barbecue…

bobby: ok

immediately, he turns and steps toward the door…

me: hold on…there’s one more thing…

[he stops and faces me again]

me: i was helping you out, letting you call your work in the hall…but you lied to me and took off…not o.k….i want you to copy down this page and return it to me at the end of your 25 minutes in the clas program…got it?!

he takes the sheet without looking at it and says…

ok, will do [and leaves the room]

[25 minutes later]

bobby comes up to me with the sheet in hand, complete…i smile and process the incident with him briefly–i.e. what are you gonna do next time talk? after 2 minutes, i tell him…

we’re good…now, why don’t you grab a hotdog and a bag of chips…

as he walks away, i look down at the assignment i gave him and smile to myself…

it reads:

Navy Code of Ethics
10 November 2005

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY CODE OF ETHICS

Key References: Title 5–Administrative Personnel Chapter XVI–Office Of Government Ethics Part 2635–Standards Of Ethical Conduct For Employees Of The Executive Branch–Table of Contents Subpart A–General Provisions Sec. 2635.101; Employees’ Responsibilities under Executive Order 12674 (as amended).

DO
Place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws, and ethical principles above private gain.

Act impartially to all groups, persons, and organizations.

Give an honest effort in the performance of your duties.

Protect and conserve Federal property.

Disclose fraud, waste, and abuse, and corruption to appropriate authorities.

Fulfill in good faith your obligations as citizens, and pay your Federal, State, and local taxes.

Comply with all laws providing equal opportunity to all persons, regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or handicap.

DO NOT
Use nonpublic information to benefit yourself or anyone else.

Solicit or accept gifts from persons or parties that do business with or seek official action from DOD (unless permitted by an exception).

Make unauthorized commitments or promises that bind the government.

Use Federal property for unauthorized purposes.

Take jobs or hold financial interests that conflict with your government responsibilities.

Take actions that give the appearance that they are illegal or unethical.

[for the last week-and-a-half, he was like, ‘yes, sir…no, sir’]

footnote: the topic of boundaries is one we’ll come back to again…at a later time…because there’s more–much more to say…

 

 

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