When our son was just seven years old, his teacher used an interesting concept to encourage her class to be good students and good citizens. Her belief was that those who followed the rules and participated in various tasks at hand would not only be rewarded, but also recognized.
During vacation time before the new school year began, she ordered a box of round pin badges with the words “SELF-MANAGER” printed on them in big blue letters. Mrs. Campbell’s theory was that children wanted to succeed and would strive to be members of a successful group if they could see that the goals were achievable and the playing field was evened out for everyone.
The teacher told the students that they were growing and learning everyday and were certainly old enough to manage themselves at school and at home. Every child who met these expectations would receive a plastic pin badge to wear at school. The badge could also serve as an ID badge for the recipient and gain them entry into activities after school, drawings for prizes each week and also the opportunity to have a say in suggesting class activities.
Our son came home enthused with the challenge his teacher had set before the class. Her requirements were manageable for his age group – for the most part. She’d printed out a list for the children to take home and had a large version of it posted by the classroom door. The rules were:
• Be responsible for your own behaviour at school and at home
• Apply yourself to your schoolwork and finish it in a timely manner
• Be a good listener
• Be a polite speaker
• Be a good sport when playing sports
• Respect others and their property
As each child earned their Self-Manager’s pin badge, they would be called to the front of the classroom by Mrs. Burns. She would pin the badge to their uniform shirt and congratulate them. When our son came home with his Self-Manager’s badge for the first time, he proudly wore it home, wore it all evening before bed, and then wore it attached to his pyjamas at bedtime!