4 common sense ideas to begin using NOW!
Tricky behaviours can be the undoing of many-a-decent-teacher. We have all had "our moments" and can empathise with others who are having a tough time with their students; it can be hard to see the other side!
Here are four things that I find help teachers gain control of our own responses and create a fair and supportive classroom for our most vulnerable students:
1. Have a plan
Responding is better than reacting. Our responses are often knee-jerk and can be based on any number of our own experiences, issues and circumstances. By having a plan or idea of how we will respond to tricky behaviours, we can make dealing with students less-subjective (a.k.a. you stay in control).
A plan might include daily charts, visual reminders and even setting out beforehand how you will respond to tricky situations.
2. Have systems in place
Systems are the nuts and bolts of a successful classroom. Kids who regularly demonstrate tricky behaviours can eventually thrive with consistency and clear structure. Their "acting out" is sometimes a result of having little routine and structure in their own lives.
Without fair and supportive systems in place, the classroom (and sometimes the teacher) eventually falls apart.
Here are a some key questions to consider:
What are my expectations and class routines? Have I made these clear?
What are my non-negotiables; negotiables? How tightly will I stick to them?
What benefits/rewards do my students receive for meeting the classroom expectations?
What are the consequences/problems with not meeting classroom expectations?
3. Let your kids be kids
We too often find ourselves in our microcosm (school) and forget what the real world (outside school) is like. You may have a tendency to want to control every aspect of what happens in your classroom, but remember: our kids are kids and they sometimes need to get the energy out!
4. Laugh with your students - often!
Find out what “hooks” the kids who you find a bit tricky to support. It’ll change both of you. The kids will find that you genuinely care and you may find that you actually like some of the things they're interested in!
If you’re already doing these four things – you are on the right track! You now have the privilege of helping others put them into practice.
If not, have a go at including them in your school, routine and classroom.
It will make a difference!