“When you did… I felt… It’d be helpful if…”
This “I message” statement is taught to students in elementary school and we assume children should know how to express their feelings in a mature manner through this set of sentence stems. I see adults in schools needing to use this set of stems as well!
I was not my best adult self at a meeting a while back and my colleague, Melissa, came up to me a day later (while I was alone) and said, “I am sorry I didn’t have the information you wanted for the meeting, but when you rolled your eyes and made a face, I felt disrespected. Could you please be mindful of your body language?”
I was embarrassed when Melissa shared her feelings with me, but I knew I needed to grow up and be my best adult self and she was in the right. Her short, hard conversation with me was humane and appropriate. Educators need tools to have these hard conversations and we need to be mature enough to hear those who share these comments as well (more on this in a future column).
Adults in schools are modeling for students how to be civil and mature with our words. Scripting before we speak helps us self-regulate and be more caring while we hold each other accountable to do what is best for students and for our schools.
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