Disruptive behavior is an opportunity. It’s a chance to enhance and strengthen relationships. -Victoria Lentfer
I need to write letters of apologies to all of my students, parents and colleagues. I need to write letters because my voice was exhausted from all of the aggressive prompting I had to do to get students to listen to me. Whatever strategy I tried fell on deaf ears. Apparently that’s why I felt I had to raise my voice, my students were hearing impaired.
Did I write the letters, no but I certainly should have. Were my students hearing impaired? Absolutely not. They were well aware of the empty threats that were thrown around them. You can’t fool students. They are perceptive. They can smell blood. And I was hemorrhaging like a saint with the stigmata minus the holiness.
My first year of teaching I had the most thorough, clearly written lesson plans. But I forgot the most important rule regarding classroom management. Relationships. I forgot to get to know my students. You can only imagine the chaos that ensued. Lesson learned – Take Time To Get To Know Your Students!
A bully will continue to bully until you take the time to teach the ‘why’ behind their behavior. By telling them to stop and that it’s not appropriate behavior, will only work for a brief moment. In fact, depending on your delivery, it may make the situation even worse because more than likely they will become defensive.
We know there are a multitude of reasons for their inappropriate behavior (i.e., unhappiness, anger, insecurities, sadness). By teaching the “why” behind a bully’s behavior, you are helping the bully to recognize and understand why they treat others poorly. It is difficult to change behavior without the knowledge of why it is happening.
Take the time to address the why and help that student to understand and take responsibility for their behavior. By teaching the “why” behind their actions will not only help the bully become aware of their actions, but will also help them modify their behavior and make better choices.
Is homework the only form of communication between you and your parents? If homework is the only way a parent knows that their child is in your math class, you may want to rethink your communication strartegy.
Building relationships is key to classroom management. Does this same idea not translate to your parents as well? Don’t dismiss the power of connecting with your parents. Try thinking of your classroom as a community. It should extend beyond the four walls and involve your parents in your classroom community.
Invite them into your classroom. Find out what they have to offer your classroom. Have them talk about their careers, offer demonstrations or just have them visit. Invite them in to offer how math, science or language arts is used during their workday. Everyone loves to talk about themselves. They are a great resource that have a great deal of life experience to offer the students. I would always find out which parent could cook or owned a restaurant . . . that would be an instant invite! And the students loved it as well!