As teachers, we all know that explicit instructions are the key to getting the results we’re looking for. Or at least an approximation of the results we’re looking for. One of my early lessons in clear instruction giving came during my student teaching stint. One of the fifth grade boys in my assigned class decided to draw a permanent marker masterpiece on the wall of the bathroom stall. When confronted he admitted that he was the artist, and I escorted him to the principal’s office to witness first hand the concept of natural consequences.
The principal was a very calm, even-handed fellow, and he guided the offending artist to the realization that, as good as his artwork was, someone had to spend time scrubbing the wall of the stall. Not pleasant. What could the kid do? On his own, the student offered to write a not of apology to the custodian.
The next morning, the principal asked me accompany him to the bathroom. We walked in and he led me to the original scene of the crime. Flashing me a “you’re not going to believe this smile” he opened the door and stepped inside. Written in marker on the wall facing me was a note – “Dear Janitor, I am very sorry for drawing on the wall.”
Explicit directions. They really make a difference.