Posts Tagged ‘Classroom Management’

The Scariest Day of the Year for a Teacher

January 30, 2020

 

Tomorrow is my first day of the new school year and I am petrified.

It’s nothing new. This day torments me every year.

Whilst you can lose your students any day during the year, if you lose them on the very first day you are in a world of trouble.

I’ve done it all. Nailed my first day and botched it.

And there’s no script that one can follow to guarantee success. Every class is different, just as every individual is different. This uniqueness gives us great variety in our job but also challenges us to make a quick determination of what their needs are and how they want to be taught. Some are looking for more room to grow creatively whilst others want a more uniform approach.

And this determination has to be worked out on the first day.

In the first lesson, actually!

Wish me luck.

 

How Restraint in the Classroom Can Transform You as a Person

January 6, 2020

In the classroom, we are tested beyond comprehension. It can be quite a challenge to keep one’s cool and it often involves sucking in some pride.

But, if you can overcome the urge to lose it and maintain a calm and considered approach to dealing with bad behaviour, disruption and rudeness, think about what you have achieved! And the respect that you are likely to get from your students cannot be understated. They realise when they have given as good as they got and haven’t been able to break you that they have a teacher who possesses self-control and resilience.

But it goes beyond that.

If you can withstand a hectic and unruly classroom situation, resisting all temptation to blow up and completely lose it, think about how much easier it becomes to deal with stressful situations at home. If you can leave the classroom with your voicebox intact and your reputation restored, you should surely be able to duplicate the act when it comes to dealing with your partner, children and mother-in-law.

Keeping your emotions in check in the classroom is as challenging as it gets. If you can achieve it, you can do just about anything!

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

My World Famous Teaching Brain Fart

August 12, 2019

You know those times when you think you have worked out the solution to a nagging problem?

You think you are a genius. If only everyone was as creative as you.

But then you discover that there is a great reason why no one else would tackle the problem the way you did – because it is a horrible solution, one that will end up biting you on the proverbial.

And that’s exactly what happened to me.

My students, like every other kid their age, have no control over their bowels. Farts are a common fixture of my classroom. One fart I can tolerate. Two is unlucky. Then there are those days where the farts roll along in a continuous tirade. Death by a thousand squeaks.

Worse than the smell, is the ensuing laughter and embarrassment from the custodian of the said fart. And then there’s the sweater over the nose ritual and the exaggerated, “that stinks something awful!” It is a very disruptive force for the the teacher and it is very hard to get the kids back on task.

The worst are the quiet ones.  That’s when the self-appointed CSI forensic squad feel they have to investigate the owner of the smell and lay as much blame as possible. This turns into Law and Order as the accused always denies the claims and calls for a lie detector to back them up. This scene always finishes in tears.

After a number of these incidents in the one calendar year, I had reached the end of my tether. I couldn’t do it anymore. It was time to take control.

So I did.

Kind of …

I told my students that passing wind is normal and natural and everyone does it. I advised them that this shouldn’t be disrupting class and that the investigations were unnecessary. I suggested that from now on, whenever someone farted they could just blame it on me. They can pretend I did it and have a small chuckle at my expense. They all liked the idea.

This wasn’t an easy thing for me to try. There are 2 nightmare scenarios I have in teaching. I am not in the least bit embarrassed about making a spelling mistake or mucking up a math sum in front of the students. It doesn’t worry me if I can’t answer a student’s question. The only two things that would cause me immense shame is farting or vomiting in front of my class.  But I was desperate and was prepared to give it a go.

And what would you know, it worked like a charm. A kid would let one go and they would all turn to me and say “Mr. G! You did it!”

Then they would quickly calm down, no formal investigation, no feelings hurt and carry on with the lesson.

How could this brilliant idea go wrong?

A few months later, my class, together with a number of other classes and their teachers met in the music room for a meditation lesson conducted by a visiting expert. I was impressed how well the instructor got the kids quiet and they seemed to be following her directions without cynicism or immaturity.

The room was completely silent. That was, until one child let the trumpet out of the bag.

Without hesitation, my class turned to me in front of a number of my colleagues and half the primary school and shouted. “That was Mr. G! Mr. G farted!”

All I could do was squirm in my seat. Red as a beetroot.

From then on, I happily allowed my students to blame each other all they wanted for any farts that surfaced. Go for your life. I am staying out of it!

Teachers Should View a Sleeping Student as Feedback

March 29, 2017

What a horrific act and a total and utter overreaction. I’m sure this teacher felt disrespected that his student fell asleep in his class, but to assault her by biting her hair is astonishing and unforgivable.

As rude as it is for a student to sleep in class, a teacher should see it as crucial feedback and consider changing their style accordingly:

A strange clip of a teacher biting a students hair in order to lift her head off the table has emerged.The odd incident happened about a year ago but has resurfaced online. Jaws wide, the teacher approaches the snoozing student across a classroom. He then pounces on her, chomping her ponytail between his teeth. As she’s pulled from the desk where she was sleeping she looks shocked and worried. She gasps and grabs her hair and the creepy teacher relinquishes his grip. It isn’t known exactly where the weird incident happened but the 27-second clip has been shared widely on social media and other internet sites.

This teacher has a lot of explaining to do.

Click on the link to read Tips for Teaching Difficult Students

Click on the link to read Watch a Teacher Go Berserk Over the Most Trivial Thing (Video)

Click on the link to read Tips for Teaching Difficult Students

Click on the link to read Teacher Threatens to Give Away TV Show Spoilers if Class Misbehaves

Click on the link to read Teacher Called Cops Because Students Planned to Sabotage Class Photograph

Tips for Teaching Difficult Students

July 31, 2016

behavior-cartoon

 

Written by Josh Work courtesy of edutopia:

 

1. Set the Tone

I firmly believe that a student’s misbehavior in the past does not necessarily equate to future indiscretions. At the beginning of the school year, I would walk down to the sixth grade teachers with my new class lists and ask questions. I would inquire about who works well together, who probably should not sit next to each other, and who caused them the most grief. Not surprisingly, teachers would share the names of the same students that were their “tough kids.” If I had the privilege of having any of these students in my class, I looked forward to it instead of dreading it.

Usually during the first week of school, I would try to have individual conferences with these tough kids. I’d take this as an opportunity to clear the air and wipe the slate clean. Often, these students can feel disrespected because their teachers already have preconceived ideas about how they are the troublemakers. Explain that you respect them and have high expectations for them this year. Lay the foundation for the student’s understanding that you believe in him or her, because you might be the only one who genuinely does.

2. Be a Mentor

Unfortunately, it has been my experience that some of the toughest kids to teach come from very difficult home situations. Inconsistent housing, absentee parent(s), lack of resources, and violence are only a few examples of what some of these students have to face every day. Kids that are neglected at home can act out in school to receive attention, good or bad. They want someone to notice them and take an interest in their lives.

Don’t forget how important you are in helping your students develop not just academically, but also socially. Make an effort to show you care about them, not just their grades. Be proactive instead of reactive. The key to being a good mentor is to be positive, available, and trustworthy. One year with a great mentor can have a lasting, positive impact on a tough kid’s life.

3. Make Connections

Part of being a great mentor is your ability to make connections with these tough kids. Since these students sometimes don’t have anyone encouraging them or taking an interest in their lives, have a real conversation about their future or dreams. If they have nothing to share, start talking about their interests — sports, music, movies, food, clothing, friends, siblings, etc. Find a way to connect so that they can relate to you. Start off small and show a genuine interest in what they have to say. Once you’ve made a positive connection and the student can trust you, you’d be surprised how fast they might open up to talking about their hopes, fears, home life, etc. This is when you need to exercise professional discretion and be prepared for what the student might bring up. Explain that you do not want to violate his or her trust but that, as an educator, you are required by law to report certain things.

4. Take it Personally (In a Good Way)

Teachers need to have thick skin. Students may say things in an attempt to bruise your ego or question your teaching abilities. Remember, we are working with young children and developing adults. I’m sure you said some hurtful things that you didn’t mean when you were growing up. Students can say things out of frustration or boredom, or that are triggered by problems spilling over from outside of your classroom. Try to deal with their misbehavior in the classroom — they might not take you seriously if you just send them to the office every time they act out. These are the moments when they need a positive mentor the most.

Once trust has been established, remind these students that you believe in them even if they make a mistake. I’ve vouched for kids during grade team meetings only to have them get into a fight at lunch the same day. They make mistakes, just like we all do. It’s how we respond to their slip-ups that will determine if they’ll continue to trust us. Explain that you’re disappointed in their actions and that you know they can do better. Don’t write them off. Tough kids are used to being dismissed as hopeless. Instead, show them that you care and are willing to work with them. Helping a tough kid overcome personal issues isn’t something that happens overnight, but it is a worthwhile investment in his or her future.

5. Expect Anything and Everything!

All of our students come from a variety of cultures, nationalities, and home environments, and these five techniques that have worked for me might barely scratch the surface of how you interact with the tough kids in your classroom. If you have another method that has helped you reach out and connect to a tough kid, please share it below in the comments section.

 

 

Click on the link to read Watch a Teacher Go Berserk Over the Most Trivial Thing (Video)

Click on the link to read Tips for Teaching Difficult Students

Click on the link to read Teacher Threatens to Give Away TV Show Spoilers if Class Misbehaves

Click on the link to read Teacher Called Cops Because Students Planned to Sabotage Class Photograph

Tips for Teaching Difficult Students

August 9, 2015

tough-students

Written by Josh Work courtesy of Edutopia:

 

1. Set the Tone

I firmly believe that a student’s misbehavior in the past does not necessarily equate to future indiscretions. At the beginning of the school year, I would walk down to the sixth grade teachers with my new class lists and ask questions. I would inquire about who works well together, who probably should not sit next to each other, and who caused them the most grief. Not surprisingly, teachers would share the names of the same students that were their “tough kids.” If I had the privilege of having any of these students in my class, I looked forward to it instead of dreading it.

Usually during the first week of school, I would try to have individual conferences with these tough kids. I’d take this as an opportunity to clear the air and wipe the slate clean. Often, these students can feel disrespected because their teachers already have preconceived ideas about how they are the troublemakers. Explain that you respect them and have high expectations for them this year. Lay the foundation for the student’s understanding that you believe in him or her, because you might be the only one who genuinely does.

2. Be a Mentor

Unfortunately, it has been my experience that some of the toughest kids to teach come from very difficult home situations. Inconsistent housing, absentee parent(s), lack of resources, and violence are only a few examples of what some of these students have to face every day. Kids that are neglected at home can act out in school to receive attention, good or bad. They want someone to notice them and take an interest in their lives.

Don’t forget how important you are in helping your students develop not just academically, but also socially. Make an effort to show you care about them, not just their grades. Be proactive instead of reactive. The key to being a good mentor is to be positive, available, and trustworthy. One year with a great mentor can have a lasting, positive impact on a tough kid’s life.

3. Make Connections

Part of being a great mentor is your ability to make connections with these tough kids. Since these students sometimes don’t have anyone encouraging them or taking an interest in their lives, have a real conversation about their future or dreams. If they have nothing to share, start talking about their interests — sports, music, movies, food, clothing, friends, siblings, etc. Find a way to connect so that they can relate to you. Start off small and show a genuine interest in what they have to say. Once you’ve made a positive connection and the student can trust you, you’d be surprised how fast they might open up to talking about their hopes, fears, home life, etc. This is when you need to exercise professional discretion and be prepared for what the student might bring up. Explain that you do not want to violate his or her trust but that, as an educator, you are required by law to report certain things.

4. Take it Personally (In a Good Way)

Teachers need to have thick skin. Students may say things in an attempt to bruise your ego or question your teaching abilities. Remember, we are working with young children and developing adults. I’m sure you said some hurtful things that you didn’t mean when you were growing up. Students can say things out of frustration or boredom, or that are triggered by problems spilling over from outside of your classroom. Try to deal with their misbehavior in the classroom — they might not take you seriously if you just send them to the office every time they act out. These are the moments when they need a positive mentor the most.

Once trust has been established, remind these students that you believe in them even if they make a mistake. I’ve vouched for kids during grade team meetings only to have them get into a fight at lunch the same day. They make mistakes, just like we all do. It’s how we respond to their slip-ups that will determine if they’ll continue to trust us. Explain that you’re disappointed in their actions and that you know they can do better. Don’t write them off. Tough kids are used to being dismissed as hopeless. Instead, show them that you care and are willing to work with them. Helping a tough kid overcome personal issues isn’t something that happens overnight, but it is a worthwhile investment in his or her future.

5. Expect Anything and Everything!

All of our students come from a variety of cultures, nationalities, and home environments, and these five techniques that have worked for me might barely scratch the surface of how you interact with the tough kids in your classroom. If you have another method that has helped you reach out and connect to a tough kid, please share it below in the comments section.

 

 

Click on the link to read Teacher Threatens to Give Away TV Show Spoilers if Class Misbehaves

Click on the link to read Teacher Called Cops Because Students Planned to Sabotage Class Photograph

Click on the link to read Teachers are Better with a Sense of Humour (Photo)

Click on the link to read Would You Want Your Teacher Chair Replaced by a Yoga Ball?

The Questions that Great Teachers Ask Every Day

December 11, 2014

question

Courtesy of the wonderful Mark Barnes. I particularly like question 3:

 

1-What if my homework assignments are a waste of time?

Facebook is rife with parent complaints about homework. There are numerous Facebook pages and groups dedicated to abolishing the horrible homework practices that contribute nothing to learning and ignite a hatred of school in many children. Here is one example of traditional homework that a friend recently posted; oh, it’s worth noting that this homework was for a seven-year-old:

Tuesday homework: 1. Math worksheet 2. Read aloud 1 page story, answer 3 comprehension questions and have it signed 3. Put 14 spelling words in ABC order 4. Sort all spelling words by noun, verb, adjective, or “other” 5. Pick a word from each category and write a sentence, underlining the spelling words 6. Read 26 page storybook aloud, have sheet signed 7. “Optional homework” read silently for 20 minutes.

Great teachers recognize that burying a second grader in piles of senseless homework serves no purpose. Spelling homework is one of the biggest wastes of time in the history of bad homework. The only useful part of the above assignment is the optional part–voluntary reading. This homework assignment is a crutch for either an ill-prepared newbie or a tired veteran who lives in a that’s-the-way-I’ve-always-done-it world.

2-What if my students use mobile devices?

A fantastic, fearless teacher understands that learning simply can’t be measured.

Today’s classrooms are filled with iStudents. Kids who come to school with billions of resources in the palms of their hands, only to be told by teachers and school administrators to leave these powerful assets in their lockers or, worse, at home. Great teachers realize that we live in the digital age, and they are not threatened by the idea that students can become amazing independent learners, using mobile learning devices, web tools and social media. The best teachers realize that embracing mobile learning is the future of education.

3-What if my planned class activity is boring?

Far too many teachers rely on ancient textbooks, dusty worksheets, canned lectures, and last year’s multiple choice tests as their go-to teaching tools. “Kids need discipline, and learning doesn’t have to be fun,” they argue. Great teachers, though, say “Learning should always be fun.” Great teachers envision lessons and class activities and say, “If it isn’t going to be engaging and fun,” I’m throwing it out.

4-What if my room is noisy and chaotic?

A teacher walked into my classroom one day and said, “Wow! It’s kind of crazy in here.” When I informed her that we liked it this way, she shrugged, shook her head and quickly disappeared. For a very long time, my classroom was quiet and orderly. Students wouldn’t dream of leaving their seats without permission, and most would consider peeing their pants before asking me for a bathroom break. Fear and control were the order of the day, and learning was at best a rumor. After one amazing summer of change, I rebuilt my attitude and my classroom. Students worked collaboratively, moved about freely, talked openly, laughed, jumped, shouted and, best of all, had fun. Show me a silent room, and I’m betting it’s a place that is bereft of real learning.

5-What if I don’t grade this?

The thought of a class without traditional grades makes many teachers shudder and scoff. A fantastic, fearless teacher understands that learning simply can’t be measured. It’s impossible to effectively assess with numbers, percentages and letters. The best teachers give their students objective feedback. They observe and ask questions; they provide alternatives. Most important, they encourage students to revisit prior learning and rework activities in an effort to achieve mastery. The best teachers help kids understand that failure is necessary and should never be punished with a low mark.

6-What if the Common Core is just another bad idea concocted by bureaucrats?

Even if they think the Common Core might be a good thing (there’s no evidence right now that it is), the best teachers question Common Core State Standards and high stakes testing every day of their lives. Great teachers may see how the Common Core can be successfully integrated into some classes, but they always wonder if their own standards and learning outcomes that their students want are the best standards for our children. The best teachers know how to teach. They don’t need a prescription dreamed up by nonprofits to tell them what is right for their students.

 

Click on the link to read Learning as an Experience

Click on the link to read I Love it When Teachers are Excited to Come to Work

Click on the link to read Every Science Teacher’s Worst Nightmare (Video)

Teacher Threatens to Give Away TV Show Spoilers if Class Misbehaves

March 23, 2014

game of thrones

Well here is a novel way of getting rowdy students to quieten down:

A maths teacher apparently decided to up the ante by threatening to reveal Game of Thrones spoilers to his misbehaving students.

One day while teaching in a noisy classroom, the educator asked who watched Game of Thrones, to which the majority raised their hands.

‘Well, I’ve read all the books,’ he told them. ‘If there is too much noise, I will write the name of the dead on the board. They are enough to fill the whole year and I can even describe how they die,’ reports nieuwsblad.be.

Those troublemakers who took it as an empty threat soon found themselves living to regret it when the teacher proceeded to write the names of those killed off in the third series on the board.

Unsurprisingly, the class got back pretty sharpish to working on long division and the like in silence after that.

Click on the link to read Teacher Called Cops Because Students Planned to Sabotage Class Photograph

Click on the link to read Teachers are Better with a Sense of Humour (Photo)

Click on the link to read Would You Want Your Teacher Chair Replaced by a Yoga Ball?

Click on the link to read Worst Examples of Teacher Discipline

Click on the link to read Why Students Misbehave

Why is it Always the Kids’ Fault?

February 11, 2014

tristam hunt

The UK’s Educational Secretary, Tristram Hunt, has called for schoolchildren to be given ‘concentration lessons’, to fight the effects of social media and digital gadgets.

You know what this makes me want to do?

Confiscate Mr. Hunt’s phone for the day. See how he copes without his “digital gadget”.

I bet he feels naked without his “distractions.”

And it’s this rank hypocrisy that is endemic among educational ‘experts’. Here are a few examples of the prevailing double standards I am referring to:

1. They call on teachers to instruct children to become more resilient when studies show that children are far more resilient than adults.

2. They legislate against lunches that c0ntain cheese and yogurt and crisps when the average staff room often contains cakes and biscuits and lollies.

3. They become obsessed with ICT to the point where schools are expected to heavily integrate iPads and interactive Smartboards apps, but then complain that such technologies are causing our children to lose concentration.

Why do we always focus on a child’s lack of concentration and never on a teachers ability to engage? Why is it always that children have lost the capacity to maintain concentration and never that the teacher has offered up a turgid series of worksheets and unimaginative activities?

If you think the children of today are that much worse than you or I when it comes to concentration, attend a professional development seminar and observe all the bored teachers scribbling on their handouts and staring out the window.

And yes, watch as many of them will reach for their digital gadgets at some point during the lecture to catch up with any Facebook updates they may have missed.

Pure hypocrisy!

Click on the link to read Student Shot by Teacher Protests His Sacking

Click on the link to read Science Not For the Faint Hearted (Video)

Click on the link to read 7 Tips for Building a Better School Day

Click on the link to read Student Rant Goes Viral

Click on the link to read Could This be the Most Violent High School Test Question Ever?

Teachers are Better with a Sense of Humour (Photo)

December 23, 2013

In University we were instructed not to smile until Easter. That way our students would never feel close enough to us to treat us like a friend. It is this kind of rubbish that infiltrates many teacher training lecture rooms. They tell you not to become emotionally involved with your students, but what they are really saying is become emotionally distant.

Students need to see the human face of their teacher in order to respect them. Remember, that there is a big difference between a dictatorial teacher that demands respect and a caring one that commands respect. The best way to manage student behaviour is for them to WANT to behave for you. They must want to gain your approval and respect. The only way to achieve this is to believe in them, set fair expectations for them and be prepared to share a laugh at times.

I stumbled across this wonderful answer to a science question which shows that the student in question had absolutely no idea what the correct answer is, but didn’t want his teacher to think less of him because of it.  The teacher’s response to the answer is simply brilliant!

science

Click on the link to read Would You Want Your Teacher Chair Replaced by a Yoga Ball?

Click on the link to read Worst Examples of Teacher Discipline

Click on the link to read Why Students Misbehave

Click on the link to read Being a Teacher Makes Me Regret the Way I Treated My Teachers

Click on the link to read Useful Resources to Assist in Behavioural Management


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