At Hero, we believe second chances are incredibly important. We believe there’s good in everyone.
Yes, students make mistakes. But adults do too.

And really, that’s what a product like Hero is all about. Student behavior improvement programs should be about giving everyone, even the students who mess up a lot, a new opportunity — a second chance — each day to do something good.

Second chances are though one of those things that’s easier said than done.  It takes incredible patience. And it takes some serious willpower to not get flustered. In many ways, it takes the everyday skills educators somehow muster out of nowhere. Somehow, so many educators are capable of finding the inner strength that’s needed to #bethechange. For that, we’ll forever be in awe.

Knowing that even the best of us could use some help now and then honing these skills, we asked our own customers (via our customer community Homeroom) to share some advice on second chances. And the responses we got were so inspiring we had to share.

Here’s their advice on how to give second chances — to even the most challenging students:

  1. Remember the struggles students face outside the classroom.
    “Students should always be given a second chance to get their behavior in check. They might not have anywhere else that holds them to a standard of behaving appropriately.”- Marlowe Croskey, Paraeducator, Park Middle School
  2. Put yourself in their shoes.
    “One of the 15 ‘manners’ that we are working on at our school is ‘Learn from mistakes.’ This is one of my favorite rules to use with the students since our students struggle constantly and since it is our job to teach to their deficits.Many students are coming to school with serious SEL deficits, and changing behavior patterns is one of the hardest things a person can do. We have an opportunity to make real positive changes, if we stay the course and remain positive and consistent. Giving second, third and fourth chances is how the students continue to learn and practice new behaviors.” – Crystal Green, Special Education Teacher, Park Middle School
  3. Listen first. Judge second.
    “If you don’t understand someone’s behavior, you don’t know enough of their story! A student who was in a fight was my summer volunteer and never had any issues again for two years. She is a junior now. ” Renee DiBiasio, Assistant Principal, Cleveland School of the Arts
  4. Remember how powerful a little encouragement can be.
    “Sometimes kids are surprised when you give them kudos or compliments for something, but it makes a world of difference for them for sure. They start acting better, showing signs of happiness at school, and even being more willing to participate in all school activities. We have a program called ALC, which is the Alternative Learning Center. Those students love Hero points, and they will work for them. We have them volunteering to be security at our VIP basketball court, and they even volunteer to write letters to companies to get donations for our store, and even use their points to buy each other things they need (jackets, IDs, etc.). If that’s not a second chance gone well, I don’t know what is.” – Tiana Kamiko, MTSS Coordinator, Kalākaua Middle School”Everyday is a new day for students and faculty (including myself) to receive a second chance! Our school encourages students to work towards the bi-weekly incentive activities by using verbal praise and friendly reminders. Everyone deserves a second chance to perform at our best! No Grinches around CCMS.” Shatanner McFarland, Professional School Counselor, Cleveland Central Middle School”I have some very disruptive students who can’t seem to get along with any of their teachers. I have made promises with them that if I search their behavior history and find no negative entries into the system, I will shower them with positive points. It has worked with the 4-5 so well that I am thinking about implementing a mentor program school wide through our PBIS committee.” – James Buynar, Teacher, Paul Revere Middle School
  5. Consider the real motivation behind disruptive behavior — and channel a student’s need for recognition in more positive, constructive way.
    “This week I had to submit a detention for a student, but the next day the student was awesome in class, so I made sure I also recognized that by giving Hero points. It really helps motivate students to do the right thing.” – Brittany Quinn, Art Teacher, Cleveland School of the Arts”All students deserve second chances. Even if a student has made some wrong choices, Hero is a way to keep earning [recognition since their points] continue to accumulate. Positive reinforcement is always better then negative!” – Lynore Hird, ESE InD Teacher, Boynton Beach Community High School

Second chances are never easy. But using Hero Rise for positive behavior reinforcement makes it a little easier. Hero Rise turns positive recognition into a easy, don’t overthink it, go with your gut — and follow your heart — kind of thing. And that kind of student/adult interaction can make all the difference for everyone involved.