|Cassie Benak, Challenging Behavior Consultant, Council Bluffs Community School District, Council Bluffs, IA|
First, I thought about my conversations with some of my most challenging students, many times the these talks revolved around their behavior of attending school or how they are acting in school. I have started changing the way I address these conversations, I start with talking about their future. What job do you want to have, do you want to go to college . . . from here I have been actually sitting down with kids and looking at different colleges and different job opportunities. Bringing them into this conversation has really helped change their mindset. I can already see that they are improving their behavior because they are feeling they have something to work towards. I am excited to move on to my next activity with them, which is writing a letter to their future self.
The second activity, writing the letter to your future self (futureme.org) is an activity that I have started to use with staff members. At a training this past week, I encouraged some of our behavior specialists to write a letter to themselves. Many of them are struggling, and well, it's April in a school setting. . . who isn't? Half of them are new to their role this year and are anxious about what next year will bring and the other half are continuing their education and don't know what the next steps will be for them. We talked about thinking about what they wish they would have known going into this role and what they hope to see happen in their rooms this coming fall. My hope is that their goals will be emailed to them this fall and they will get to continue to have some follow through. I plan to continue to do this activity, as it has been so exciting and well received from those who have already completed it!