Why Second Chances Matter

3 min read
Jun 16, 2022 8:00:00 AM

Here is why giving students a second chance matters.

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 SchoolMint Hero is all about. Student behavior improvement programs should be about giving everyone, even the students who mess up a lot, a new opportunity each day to do something good.

Giving second chances, though, is 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.

Knowing that even the best of us could use some help now and then honing these skills, we wanted to share some advice on second chances.

As your 2022–2023 school year planning continues, consider implementing an initiative around giving second chances to students more frequently — and being punitive less frequently.

Here’s some advice on how to give second chances to even the most challenging students.portrait-of-cheerful-smiling-teacher-and-diverse-s-2022-01-18-23-38-34-utc

1. Remember the struggles students face outside the classroom.

This is a simple tip, but it’s worth periodically reminding yourself: students, particularly those who may misbehave often, face struggles when they’re not in the classroom.

Because of that, 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.

2. Put yourself in their shoes.

With students who struggle and have learning deficits, it’s important to teach them that learning from mistakes is powerful.

Many students come to school with serious SEL deficits, and changing behavior patterns is one of the hardest things anyone 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 students continue to learn and practice new behaviors.

3. Listen first. Judge second.

If you don’t understand a student’s behavior, you don’t know enough of their story.

When a student acts out, rather than taking a punitive measure immediately, speak with them individually to learn more about why.

“A student who was in a fight was my summer volunteer and never had any issues again for two years.”
Renee DiBiasio, Assistant Principal, Cleveland School of the Arts

4. Remember how powerful a little encouragement can be.

Every day is a new day for students and staff alike, and a little bit of praise can go a long way toward catalyzing long-term positive behavior among students.

teacher sitting down with student and discussing a second chance

“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

5. Consider the real motivation behind disruptive behavior — and channel a student’s need for recognition in a more positive, constructive way.

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 than negative.

“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, Arts Educator, Cleveland School of the Arts

Second chances aren’t always easy.

But using SchoolMint Hero for positive behavior reinforcement makes it a little easier.

Hero turns positive recognition into an easy, don’t-overthink-it kind of thing. And that kind of student–adult interaction can make all the difference for everyone involved.

To learn more about Hero, watch this overview video:



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