The journey of class 2A from a Secondary School started with much apprehension from both the counsellors and teachers. The class has been noted for its disruptive behaviours and the internal bullying going on. It was certainly not an easy class for the teachers to manage, with classroom issues occurring on a frequent basis.
We first started doing intervention work on the class in August 2012 and warmed up slowly to the class. We gave our best in engaging the class, coming up with experiential activities that would get the class involved and to bring across values for learning. It was met with mixed success. There were days when the class was on-board with us and we had an enjoyable time together. There were days when the class was totally out of control and we struggled to work with them. However, something that we were more concerned about was when the teachers feedbacked to us that they had been misbehaving in the other classes and were getting out of hand. Teachers were openly challenged in class and they were upset by the class’ behaviour.
Therefore, we decided that the students should get to hear from the teachers on the impact of their actions. We were hopeful that through the restorative class circle, they would be able to see things from the teachers’ point of view and relationships between the teachers and students could be rebuilt. We prepared the teachers beforehand on what we were going to do and obtained their agreement.
We prepared a photo of a class which displays their happiest moment together as a class with their teachers and used it as talking piece. It was hoped that it would evoke pleasant memories that would help the students to open up during circle process
During the restorative circle, the class shared on how they think their class situation has been and whether they feel united as a class. Some students were honest and shared that they felt the class has been really disruptive and not conducive. Some students did not want to be accountable for their actions and thought that things were fine. During the teachers’ turn, they shared about how they were so exhausted after conducting every lesson in class and even went into how it affected their private lives. The class was silent as the teachers shared openly and appeared to be ashamed of their behaviour.
Subsequently, the teachers feedbacked that the class had improved in their classroom behaviour and were no longer as disruptive as before. One of the teachers later revealed to us that she might have left the teaching profession if not for the class circle where the classroom issues were addressed. ALthough our engagement with the class ended, we do hope that the class would continue to thrive on the good teacher-student relationship.