Yesterday evening, at the end of a long school day and afternoon with my girls, I noticed the way I was responding to them. I found that I was hesitating before any question or comment that might have been harsh or chastising. It wasn't a conscious decision by any means, but it meant that I enjoyed a fun evening with my daughters. At points when I would often respond to them in ways that would increase conflict my hesitation meant that I managed to use a different tone, question, or phrase and keep things positive.
I'm not sure how to ensure that I hesitate in responding to my daughters more often. I'm even less certain of how to do this in my classroom. With 20 students, rather than just my 2 girls, I tend to respond to things immediately, if not sooner. As a result, I often regret my actions and wish I had been able to react in a way that did not escalate the situation.
Thinking about this reminded me of a comment from Rafe Esquith when he spoke at an event here recently. He said, "When I learned to shut up and listen I became a better teacher." One goal for this year is to listen more.
The other day I hastily responded to a student. Before the student was even done talking. And my response popped any learning balloon that student was blowing up.
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