When "social drama" creeps into a group the mentality shifts and sometimes I go into a secret "panic mode". Thoughts cross my mind such as "what have I been doing wrong" or "I kept my head under a rock" or "did I say/do something wrong". I try not to pry into the students lives or constantly talk about treating others with respect. After all, there is music/content to learn!
The band is not immune to "social drama" or conflicts. When you dig deep enough and put the thousands of little pieces together of who said/did what there is a common denominator. That denominator is lack of empathy for others.
Students minds are racing a mile a minute. Much faster than ours were during this age. Students say or do things that may be "appropriate" for their home/social circle, but it is perceived as inappropriate for others. One of the best staff training I had was this August and it had to do with sexual harassment. Though the topic of sexual harassment is not what we are dealing with, the premise of the video was this: The harasser did not realize the intent or harm they were performing in another person's presence.
The training emphazised thinking before saying or doing. The old adage of our childhoods is creeping back. The training also discussed developing empathy for others. During our most recent Leadership Symposium many candid conversations took place as the students discussed the Causes and Reactions to social conflict. Then the students discussed Strategies and ways to Implement the strategies to cope with social conflict.
After discussing the Implementation aspect we discovered that the best way to create a positive, safe and welcoming culture was Peer to Peer. The directors are clear in our expectations, but the students have to reinforce the expectations. For example: If the expectation that zero talking is to take place while we are working than the vast of the majority of the students need to uphold that expectation 100%. If the expectation is that we build each other up than Every Single Person needs to a part of this. Parents and Teachers need to spend more time on teaching empathy to our students. Together we are the best team for our kids.