Givin' them kids all the power. What's next? No discipline, no obedience, no...fist fights.
Nov 14, 2011
What you're about to read in this blog article, is a little about how I have changed over the past year, after joining the Restorative Justice (RJ) student team. I joined the team the summer before freshman year. First though, let me give a brief description of the Longmont High School RJ Team. We are a team of roughly 20 student facilitators that practice Restorative Justice in 3 schools in the SVVSD. It’s a program run by student facilitators for students in conflict.
....When getting to LHS Freshman year, not really knowing what to expect, I stayed around what I knew the best, which was RJ because I did my trainings over the summer and I sat in quite a few circles from the community program. Within the first two weeks of school, I was already Co-facilitating, and leading connection circles at team meetings. I really didn’t spend much time as a community member, but instead moved straight into facilitating.
Team facilitating was really good for me because I got to work with other people, I got the opportunity to observe how they lead the circle and learn from their skills, and start to practice how I could use them. One of the things that I learned to do really well was to ask good follow up questions to get a better understanding of the story that is being told. I learned to handle heightened emotions from the referred student and their parents.
I also learned how to manage my own anxiety in the face of that. I feel like I am more confident at upholding ground rules, keeping things respectful, carefully and skillfully naming the challenging behavior and switching back to respecting and following the ground rules.
I have noticed that my ability to talk to many different types of people has increased. Before freshman year, I knew how I was “supposed” to communicate, but now I feel more confident in using the communication skills that I have naturally. I am much better at working with parents, modulating my tone and learning to switch between talking to adults and kids.
I have a better understanding how to be more professional, and I am better at recognizing emotions, small signals and body language. I know how to relate to people of all ages, I have become more of an active listener and knowing what that entails. When I speak, my thoughts are more organized and clear, and I try to use "I Statements" as much as possible but that is still a work in progress, because that really is not always an easy thing to do.