In the last post, I talked bout what it means to be a Restorative Leader – to combine High Expectations with High Supports for yourself – and those you lead.
Sometimes, however, it is not about trying to match our high expectations with MORE and MORE support – but trying to figure out what the RIGHT support might be for this person – this group – or this situation.
THE CASE OF JOSHUA AND MS. KRATZ
Joshua did well with his in-class assignments but was losing points on missing and incomplete homework.
Ms. Kratz had tried to be supportive with Joshua.
She had taken time to problem solve with him about how to organize his work better, talked to his mother about organizing solutions for home, showed him how to use the website to track assignments, and was patient with him when he turned in late work.
She believed that she was truly combining High Expectations with High Supports.
Yet, Joshua’s grades continued to plummet as he continued to miss homework assignments. She didn’t want to lower her expectations and she didn’t want Joshua to fail – when he seemed so capable in class.
One day, at a loss of what to do, Ms. Kratz invited Joshua to her room during lunch and asked him what it would really take for him to do his homework assignments.
After a bit of back and forth, Joshua shared that he could not get himself started with all that was happening in the evening at his home – and could not concentrate on his homework.
“If someone sat down with me every day and helped me – you know – like sat there while I did it – and answered questions and stuff – I think I could do it.”
This surprised Ms. Kratz – because she had a different impression of Joshua and his family. Also, Joshua did not seem like the kind of student who would need a tutor: he was bright and seemed to understand the material. However, Ms. Kratz decided to go with what she had heard.
Based on their conversation, Ms. Kratz was able to connect Joshua to a small-group tutoring program that met in the local library after school three times per week.
To her relief, Joshua began to hand in more homework assignments – and his grades – and spirits – improved.
Ms. Kratz did not give up.
She RESISTED THE TEMPTATION TO LOWER HER EXPECTATIONS and just kept asking the question: what is the RIGHT support for this situation with this HIGH expectation?
My guess is that the OTHER supportive actions Ms. Kratz took with Joshua let him know that she cared about his success – and believed in him. It also allowed the two of them to discover which supports were NOT the RIGHT SUPPORTS for this situation – which eventually led to their success.