Whenever they had a substitute teacher, my students proved that behavior change needs to be intrinsic rather than extrinsic. My practice of hanging onto a checklist of behaviors and attempting to monitor nearly 30 students all day, every weekday, was tiresome. So, I changed tactics. Rather than trying to put a check by little Johnny’s name in the correct box that matched the misbehavior, I began telling a misbehaving student to “Check yourself.”
This new process meant that they were supposed to stop and consider what they were doing that was in conflict with the classroom rules. Having a few chances to self-correct taught the students to monitor themselves. Slowly, changes in behavior became more intrinsic and the classroom became a more peaceful place to be.
As caregivers, we may be waiting for someone else to come tell us what’s wrong when it feels like nothing is going right in our lives. But those are the time you have to stop and “check yourself.” You have to ask yourself where and how you have gotten off-kilter. When was the last time you were feeling hopeful or peaceful, and what positive things were you doing that caused it? What do you need to do to get back on track? You know your behaviors and patterns better than anyone else. Check yourself.