“I don’t want you to be in trouble, I’m going to ask you to move to the safe seat.” This is really true. Students are not in trouble when teachers assign them to the safe seat. It simply means they need some time to get back into the thinking stage and fix the problem. There are four primary reasons for moving a student to the safe seat:
1. Interfering with the learning of others – talking out, making noises, hands on others, etc.
2. Being emotional – crying, yelling, or non-verbal gestures
3. Being physical or emotionally hurtful – put downs or physical aggression
4. Unable to let the adult be in charge – arguing, refusing to follow directions, questioning or blaming others
After the student has moved to the safe seat and the behavior has stopped, the teacher will check in with them (within 20 minutes for K-2 and 30 -45 minutes for older students). The teacher checks in when it fits their schedule. Students are not to raise their hands to indicate readiness. Instead, they indicate readiness by being calm and waiting for the teacher. When the student shows they are ready and there is a willingness to work with the adult, the teacher will process with the student. The processing involves first asking a few questions to determine if the student has taken responsibility. Second, the teacher and the student will create an informal plan to help prevent the problem from occurring again. The process should only take a few minutes.
A helpful message from parents/guardians to children each morning would be, “If you go to the safe seat, be ready to fix it.” Those words reinforce our message that a move to the safe seat does not mean the student is in trouble. But, they need time to return to the thinking stage and fix the problem.