• Trish Dotts

I'm sorry . . .

“I’m sorry.” Is this statement part of your classroom management language?




As I write these thoughts out in print, I see why “I’m sorry” so dangerous.

I’m sorry without context, appears to be apologetic. It appears to recognize our actual fault in a situation.


It seems to mean, “ I recognize my role in this unfortunate situation.”


But often, we are using “I’m sorry” . . to express frustration with our class.

When I have heard it used, it has had a condescending tone, almost bordering on sarcasm. Like, I'm sorry, it's your fault.


As in, “I’m sorry, we can’t move on because we are not following directions.”

Or, I’m sorry, I thought you were ready for this next step, but since you are noisy, I guess we just can not go on.

I’m sorry, we are using up your recess time because you did not listen.


To be fair, this week, I have felt sorry. I have felt sorry that I moved forward with a lesson too quickly. I gave my students a task without preparing them for my behavioral expectations. I FORGOT that I am still teaching them how to survive in my classroom. I have kept them too long at the carpet. I have talked too long. I have given them tools without teaching them how to respect them.


When I have felt sorry. . . .I have stopped the train. I backed it up and picked the class up back in the place where things were going well. I have tried my best not to blame THEM, for my mistake.


To blame our class for not being able to handle our expectations. . .at this time of the year may not be serving to build the classroom climate we want to live in for the rest of the year.

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