Sep 11, 2023 in Life Coaching


Sometimes rules must be bent in the name of kindness.

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            When I first started work in a certain “behavior “classroom (In these rooms the students did not have learning problems, just behavioral), is when this incident took place, over ten years ago.

            It was a particularly hot spring/early summer and the brick building our classroom was in was very hot. The classroom was made up of teenaged boys who were already grumpy and adding uncomfortable heat would make things worse. I asked the teacher if I could open the windows. She said “No, Mrs. Oxley, you may not.” I was taken aback, I went over to where she was, and asked why because it was getting to be very hot. She said she got in trouble once for forgetting to close them when she went home, so now she doesn’t open them because it was a security risk if they weren’t closed (after we went home).

            I started to explain the obvious and she didn’t want to hear me. At the same time, we all had sweat rolling down our faces and it was getting hotter, and the boys were becoming more and more agitated. I said that this might cause a problem in the classroom and could I please open the windows. I had been whispering so the kids wouldn’t hear. She said loudly that she had already said no. I said I would be responsible for closing them when I left. She said that she couldn’t trust that, so I said” Okay. I will go to the office and let them know that the closing of the windows will be on me.”

            I left the classroom and went to the office and said, “My classroom is very hot, and I wanted to open the windows, and the kids were beginning to act out. So, if any windows were left open, it was my fault.” The principal’s secretary, who I knew liked me, looked at me like I was crazy and asked what room I was in. I told her and she and another secretary looked at each other and said, “Ah, yes. Thank you for letting us know.” And they smiled at me and each other. So, I left the office and went back. I told the teacher that I let the office know I was responsible for opening and closing the windows. I asked her again, “Can I please open the windows?" She said since I went to the office and said I would be responsible, it was fine! So, I opened them, and it became much easier to manage the lessened behaviors and we were all more comfortable.

            There were repercussions for me, and she started “calling” me out on things, like every time I got out of a chair, before I had a chance to move off, she’d tell me to push in my chair and I was called down to the office because she accused me of being on drugs. Things like that. It was about more than the windows; it was about kindness and treating these challenged kids like they are human beings because they are. I had bent the rules by being insubordinate and probably the teacher felt justified in messing with me. Sometimes you must risk a little nastiness and a bad work environment to do what’s right and to prevent larger problems, like all the kids becoming aggressive and hurting not only the staff but others.

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