What a wonderful article about apologizing! We’ve all done the fake, “Whatever, I’m sorry” before. This article explains a format to apologize and why each step is important. It’s a bit large, but worth the read.
Some highlights include:
The format of a proper apology
I’m sorry for…
This is wrong because…
In the future, I will…
Will you forgive me?
The pay off
“Start from the beginning.”
Yeah, I can be pretty tough on them sometimes. Tough love.
He started again, “I’m sorry for not paying attention. This is wrong because I’m not learning and the whole class is waiting and I’m wasting their time. In the future, I will pay attention. Will you forgive me?”
“Yes,” I said, then turned to the others, “Class?”
The students nodded their heads and we resumed our lesson. No one missed a beat the rest of the day. The next time it happened, weeks later, the offending student was quick to apologize, articulating how her inattention affected herself and her classmates, and was quick to change. It was no longer a matter of embarrassment or shame, but simply acknowledging 1) what went wrong, 2) who was affected, 3) how to change, and 4) asking forgiveness. I couldn’t believe how much more focused all of my students were once we began these apologies for not paying attention! It was astoundingly more effective than giving them individual warnings. I think it had something to do with feeling beholden to the entire class. Either way, win for me, and win for them.
Please, please, please read the whole article!