How do you teach responsibility?  How do you instill responsibility in 6th graders? I’m trying by giving them responsibility. The problem is that if I give them full consequences for not living up to that responsibility then they might end up in a hole from which they can’t recover. How much of a “soft-landing” do I give these kids as we look at the transition to Middle School?

I realize that Middle School is an adjustment for kids. Is it too much to expect them to bring basic supplies to class? Is it too much to ask them to follow basic instructions about behavior in class and working on assignments? Is it too much to ask them to get a paper on Monday, work on it each day and put it in their binder so that they have it for the next day, and then turn it in? Is it too much to ask kids to protect papers from their dogs? “Sir, the dog ate it. I had Cheetos in my backpack and the dog came to eat the Cheetos and he slobbered all over the paper.” I laugh now, but he actually expected me to a) believe that excuse and b) accept it. I told him to get his mother to write a letter telling me what happened and I might give him a new paper. Amazing how many kids are upset that I won’t believe them, but won’t ask their mom to write a note.

If they learn to be responsible, it will make life so much easier for them in the long run. It will make class so much easier every day. But so many of them would rather find a way to blame someone else rather than deal with their lack of responsibility. How can I instill in these kids a sense of responsibility?


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