When you find yourself stuck in a situation with a student in which you feel there is no way out, what do you do? According to Souers, we really need to step back and look at the whole situation, including all the options, rather than moving in to the ultimatum. Giving yourself the permission to look for the window when you come up against a locked door is imperative. This might be hard for us to do, especially if we are used to using the ultimatum.
Change is difficult. It is also important to remember that change take a lot of time and patience. During these difficult situations we will make mistakes and so will our students. They need us to help them learn the skills to make it through the difficult situations in which they find themselves. We, as teachers, need to know that the students will not learn these skills overnight, the first time we teach them.
The activity on page 125, teaching us to widen our peripheral vision, is a great strategy to help us out of the ultimatum situation. Once we are better able to expand our focus from the incident with the student to the bigger picture, we can see that there are, in fact, many different possibilities that can be explored and that the ultimatum is not the solution at all.
Think about a time when you gave a student/child an ultimatum. Looking back, because we always have much better vision when we look at something a second time, was there something you could have done better?