Now that I’m seeing all of these connections between education and Hamilton the Musical, every morning’s drive to work (yes, teachers are already back at work) is like my own personal pep talk from Lin-Manuel Miranda and the Hamilton cast.
“Meet Me Inside” is a song that gets stuck in my head all the time. It’s one of the first songs from the show that I knew by heart and I think we have a lot to learn from it as educators.
Check out the video with lyrics below (or by clicking here).
Hamilton! Sir! Meet Me Inside!
When George Washington is livid with Alexander Hamilton for allowing this duel to take place, he doesn’t criticize him in public. Even though he’s called inside in front of his peers (similar to calling a student into the hallway, or having them stay after class), he isn’t humiliated in front of his peers. Think about how important this is to the relationship between the General and Hamilton. Think about how important this is to the relationship between you and your students. Embarrassing students in front of the class does nothing to solve the underlying behavior problem. I would encourage every educator to carry a few post-its with “see me after class” written on them, or create some form of communication where you let the student know the behavior is not being ignored, but that you as the teacher are unwilling to call them out publicly. Simply placing one of these sticky notes on the corner of a desk sends a message to that student without further disrupting class and protecting the relationship between teacher and student. If the unwanted behavior is a cry for attention (I truly believe that all behavior is communication), you show them that the negative attention will not be given while still letting them know that you see them. Meet your students confidentially for these conversations.
And if you’re curious… public behavior charts with cards, clips, cute monster avatars, etc. mounted in front of the class… that’s not solving behavior concerns.
If you gave me command of a battalion, a group of men to lead…
I have found that one of the best ways to handle situations with students who exhibit unwanted behaviors is to give them some leadership. Allow them to be table captain, give them the line leader position, have them peer tutor in an area they have shown success. This flips the script and gives them positive reinforcement, and the opportunity to model the behavior that we’d like to see from them for others! The kid who was constantly telling me how to do my job, and pointing out my errors in the middle of class, was given the job of editor. He would proofread anything I sent home to parents. We came up with a special signal anytime I made a mistake (yes, I sometimes mess up, but I’m sure that’s just me…right?). I gave him the power to use his strengths as a leader, without disrupting class. And honestly, he quit getting under my skin and I appreciated his input. Try giving students a group of friends to lead and see if the behaviors transform into sought after leadership qualities.
What other educational, or life, lessons do you find in Hamilton‘s “Meet Me Inside”? I’m excited to hear your thoughts! Feel free to comment below or reply on Twitter!
I am so excited because the next song will likely be one of my very favorites from the entire soundtrack… which is your favorite Hamilton song?