I will officially consider today the most challenging day of my student teaching experience!!! I was so flabbergasted by the behavior of my students that I am STILL at a loss for words! Where do I even begin???????
I started to write about all of the things that went wrong today but I am not going to do that. I have vowed to try to be as constructive as possible and I want that to continue. Please know, however, that I have done my fair share of venting today, so I am not keeping everything bottled up, only to explode soon after! So no, my students did not follow directions today, nor did they respect each other, do their homework, or walk quietly in the hallway. But, at the end of the day, I love them to the moon and still want only the best for them. So, objectively looking at the chaos that was my day today, I feel like I did contribute to some of the madness. I believe that even though students are responsible for the behavior, teachers can contribute to problems in the classroom by having a short fuse, not implementing immediate consequences to poor behaviors, antagonizing students who need to be left alone because you want them to cooperate on your clock, and the list most certainly goes on. Below are the things that I want to work on to maintain more control of the classroom, respect student space and needs, and maximize the time spent learning:
- Don’t argue with students…..poor behaviors=negative consequences…end of story. I feel like I spent way too much time today arguing with students about whether or not they were actually doing what I “accused” them of doing. Assuming students understand expectations and resulting consequences, there is no need to debate whether or not it was fair or why they are in trouble and “Billy” isn’t.
- Praise those students who are taking care of business. Today, especially, I know these students were overlooked because so much time was spent dealing with the students who behaved poorly. I do not want to help create an atmosphere that inadvertently puts value and attention on inappropriate behaviors that are in no way deserving of it.
- One thing that I want to CONTINUE doing is discussing the day’s behavior with students. When there has been an issue with behavior, I always try to talk to the students about what I observed and ask them to tell me what contributed to their unacceptable behavior today. I focus on positive behaviors that I have seen in the past and want to see every day instead of the negatives ones. Most students are usually receptive to this and seem to appreciate that I want to understand why their behavior changed instead of just judging them as “being bad”. There are a couple of strong-willed students who refuse to talk to me and/or get very defensive during this time , so I have learned to wait until they cool down and are ready for a constructive dialogue.
At the end of the day, I can say I survived the most challenging day yet!! I am glad this day is over with and am ready to get back in there and start fresh. New day = new start. I can’t lie though, I am so happy that I have my methods courses ALL DAY tomorrow (never thought I’d say that). A break from the kiddos gets no complaints from me! I will see them for a few hours at the after-school program, but that will be a breeze!! Oh wow, and Friday is a school improvement day so no kiddos then either….I might just miss them by the time Monday gets here!!