When I was a student, I didn’t think my teachers were stupid; I didn’t think my teachers were smart; I didn’t think of my teachers. Maybe I didn’t give them enough credit or maybe I gave them too much, who knows? I did what they said and finally one day I graduated. Although, truth be told, that ruler the teacher was allowed to use (yes, I am old) was a big decision maker on if I chewed gum in class and it even decided for me if I should sit straight in the desk like I am supposed to. I am not exaggerating, those things would get you smacked and there was no way I was going to feel pain and/or cry in front of my classmates AND there WAS NO WAY I was going to put gum on my nose if the teacher decided to go that route instead of the ruler. I never got in trouble with the Principal. In fact, I stayed clear of her office. She had more than a ruler; she had the ever famous paddle. NO.WAY.
Nowadays, us teachers are not allowed to use such punishments. I couldn’t do that even if I was allowed. The problem with those punishments is that they are cruel HOWEVER, the students were much more mindful of how they acted towards each other, towards the teacher and mindful of getting their work down while following all rules. Oh, there were still the trouble makers. They egged on the teachers and boy, did they pay. Students now act up and they get a referral, in school suspension, detention, etc. All of these are fine consequences and would deter behavior from some, but for others…well, it just doesn’t do anything for them.
So towards the end of the school year, discipline and control of the classroom is more of a priority than ever. Students realize that once SOLS are over, their grades are over. They know that they could do nothing in class and it wouldn’t hurt them. The truth hurts us though doesn’t it. So here is what I do: I teach in a cloud. I didn’t realize I did, but I do.
- Smile even when mad. Students don’t know if they should be afraid of you or be afraid for you.
- Imagined Perception: My classroom is our world and I don’t care what goes on outside of our world. Block out the chaos that is the hallway during transitions, forget that the last class was its own form of chaos and treat each class as a new day.
- Deception: I do not hear you, I do not hear you, I do not hear you. Sometimes in life, you really have to ignore some behaviors. Miraculously, they will stop….if the student was doing them just to get on your nerves.
- Breathe. Just breathe.
- Express your love. My students drive me insane. They do. However, they also get me through the day. Express this to your students and they will appreciate it. Call a student’s parents and rave about what a great kid and student they are…. then just watch that child smile so big towards you the next day. It makes it all worth it.
- Laugh with your peers. Take time to laugh with your coworkers. It can change your attitude about everything. I would be lost without my coworkers….well, the ones that make time for me. I cherish them more than they could ever realize. Life as an introvert, synesthete and a teacher can be hard…the little things can make or break the day.
- Laugh with your students. The year is ending. Take that minute to just have fun…for a minute. Any more than that and you might be called to the Principal’s office…NO WAY. I am sure that paddle is there somewhere.
- Smile. The end of the year is exciting and sad for me. Some students I will miss tremendously. Some coworkers will be missed more than words can say, more than tears can show, more than hugs can express; however, just smile. Smile because life really is good. Smile because you had that chance to meet amazing students, amazing coworkers and you got through yet another year of teaching. Smile because you are better than you were last year and smile because you have so much more to learn.
Today’s song is a song that has been stuck in my head all afternoon long. I am not quite sure why…so maybe I can share it with you and it won’t be stuck with me any longer! Good luck!