Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bad Teacher (But Still Trying)

In the midst of teaching everyday it is nigh on impossible for me to step back. When I am able to get a little perspective it doesn't really matter. I seem unable to control my reactions to the kids. I find myself responding to them in ways that are punitive. I'm taking away free choice time (not recess, at least). I'm easily frustrated.

I know how I want to respond. I know what would be helpful. But so far it seems to be beyond me to actually do it.

Reading Joe Bower's most recent post about a school-wide behavior system caught me. I've only recently discovered his blog and it's become a must read for me.

Reading his interaction with a student was a reminder of how I want to interact with kids. My two current goals (there are so many more in my head but I'm trying to keep this doable):
  • Take the time to listen more. I have not had the patience to do this lately and it is critical. Just doing this will make a huge difference, I think.
  • Give students the benefit of the doubt. Assume the positive rather than the negative. Children are not too often truly malicious. They are not often attempting to drive me crazy. I need to remember that.
Oddly enough, it would be astoundingly helpful if I could keep these things in mind at home with my daughters as well.


anna.locke said...

Thank you for saying this out loud. I can also get caught by the moment and react out of frustration. And you are right. The situation almost always is resolved through taking a step back, and listening.

lmwmcclurken said...

Thinking about your post reminded me of the famous quote by Haim Ginott. Reflecting on it has been helpful to me so many times! It causes me to do exactly what you suggested --listen more and give kids the benefit of the doubt.
"I have come to a frightening conclusion.
I am the decisive element in the classroom.
It is my personal approach that creates the climate.
It is my daily mood that makes the weather.
As a teacher I possess tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous.
I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration.
I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.
In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis
will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or de-humanized.

Between Teacher and Child