How can we make this right? 

This question comes up in almost every interaction I have with students in my office. It’s followed by, “What things need to be made right? And who do you need to make things right with?”  Depending on the incident, this conversation can last anywhere from five minutes to thirty minutes.  The keys to making this exercise successful are the steps that follow these simple questions.

First, I ask the student to practice this process out loud with me.

Second, I let them know that I am going to follow up with them and the other party involved.

I pretend to be the teacher/other student/ hall monitor/ secretary and have the student approach and talk to me as if they were going to apologize and make things right. It’s painfully awkward and uncomfortable, but the students usually leave with a few different ways to make things right.

I bring them back down a couple of days later to see how the conversation went. Or I stop them in the hallway and see what happened. If they didn’t follow through on their end of the process, I sit down with them and find out why. Then we go through steps one and two again.