A weird metaphor for consequences

A classroom management idea to help with your follow through

From Killing Eve, Sandra Oh plays the British Intelligence Agent threatening to shoot the criminal. Image courtesy of imbd.com.

When you’re giving out a consequence to a misbehaving kid, think of the scene in a crime show where someone has the criminal at gun point. 

The good guy says, “I’ll shoot!”, and the bad guy says, “No, you won’t.” Then the bad guy steps forward, and in the next frame, you can determine how the rest of the scene will unfold.

If the good guy says, “Yes, I will! I’ll do it!”, then you can be confident they’re not going to pull the trigger. The bad guy will probably walk up and take the gun out of their hand.

But, if the bad guy takes that step, and the good guy immediately shoots (even if they miss), the bad guy is probably going to run away, or some other fight will ensue. 

The good guy laid out the terms. The bad guy tested the terms. It’s up to the good guy to follow through on the consequence.

Just like the good guy with the gun, you can’t be afraid to follow through

When you’re in front of that misbehaving student, focus on only giving one warning.

Why? Because you’re either going to give one, or an infinite number. Once you get beyond one, it gets hard to keep count. With each additional warning you give, it becomes less and less likely that you will ever follow through. You become the good guy saying, “I’m gonna do it!”, who never actually does anything at all.

So lay out your terms (the warning), and then if they test them, you have to follow through. You have to shoot the bad guy. It’s the right thing to do.

Either you manage the situation, or they’ll manage it (and in crime shows, that usually ends up with you dead).