Are you more or less strict than when you first started teaching?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by waterfall, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Nov 21, 2012

    My mom was telling me today that she feels that she's gotten a lot "softer" as she gets more experience teaching and that she's so much nicer/calmer in the classroom than she used to be. I had some friends growing up that were in her class (she works at private school, I attended public, but had neighborhood friends that went to her school) and she was saying that they would be shocked at how "nice" she is in class now and how much she's realized the things she used to make a big deal out of really aren't that big of a deal. This was in the context of her talking about mentoring a new teacher who she feels like needs to "sand off the edges" because she speaks too harshly to the kids and "freaks out about everything." I thought that was interesting because it seems that most people seem to think they started off "too nice" and got more strict as they got older/got more experience. I would say I am definitely more strict this year in previous years, but that's simply because my new school has a lot more behavior problems. In my previous school I didn't really have to be strict since the kids pretty much behaved on their own. What do you think?
     
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  3. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    Nov 21, 2012

    I think that as I have taught, I have learned to explain myself better, leading to better understanding. I think this has helped me be less strict seeming, because the kiddos understand the logic behind my requests.

    But I also think it has to do with the group of kids each year. Last year, I rarely had any issues with kids because they were very much people pleases and looking for praise. This years group is not motivated the same way.

    I do think that because I was so nervous about doing everything perfectly, I was a lot tougher than I needed to be at times when I first began teaching.
     
  4. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Nov 21, 2012

    Yes, but sometimes I let my temper get the better of me. My AP did mention the bag-throwing incident, but I was not backing down. I tossed a few other bags out yesterday. Some of these children think they can go whereever they like, touch things of mine, use my sink whenever they feel like it. Sometimes I reach a breaking point.

    Backpack girl's mom is coming in next week. I'm happy to meet her, so I show her her daughter's lack of work and my anectodal records. Maybe I'll buy her a replacement mug that says, B-R-A-T or S-L-A-C-K-E-R.
    You know, I think they got the message. No one entered my classroom today until I said so. :D
     
  5. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Nov 21, 2012

    I do think I have gotten less strict because I've gained experience and have had the chance to understand my teaching style. When I first started, I was scared that classes would get out of control, so I did feel more strict, or maybe less open. I was still friendly and approachable, but didn't share as much about my life to my students and was still getting to know myself as a teacher.
     
  6. brigidy

    brigidy Comrade

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    Nov 21, 2012

    The question is hard for me to answer because although I am strict in my expectations of my students, I am still a very even tempered, patient and kind teacher.
     
  7. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Nov 21, 2012

    I have not gotten softer or stricter. What has changed is my methodology (which I hope continues to develop and change). I am much calmer, have many more "tricks" up my sleeve, and have learned (the hard way) to teach my expectations explicitly and to repeat that teaching as needed!
     
  8. teacherwithlove

    teacherwithlove Comrade

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    Nov 22, 2012


    You sound like a H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E teacher. :dizzy:
     
  9. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 22, 2012

    My experience has been that teachers generally start off way too nice, then realize that, and subsequently move toward being way too strict. Then, after a while, they mellow out around the center.

    I definitely think being calm, patient, and kind - while at the same time being firm - is a set of skills that requires finesse. It's not simply a matter of being more "nice" in my opinion - with great teachers that are older - it's being nice and supportive while also having high expectations and being firm. My experience has been that many younger teachers don't understand how you can be both at the same time, and end up on one side of the spectrum or the other because they don't understand how both can exist simultaneously - within the same interaction even.
     
  10. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Nov 22, 2012

    I think that because student behaviour has worsened over the 23 years I have been teaching I am more strict these days than I needed to be when I first started. Students arrive at my school with very poor self discipline and have to be clamped down on right from the start. As they get older, for some of them things can relax a little.
     
  11. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Nov 22, 2012

    :yeahthat:
     
  12. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Nov 22, 2012

    Well I'm only in my 2nd year. I'm less strict here just because I can. The school population is wildly different and I can be more laid back here. But for the most part I feel I've maintained the same level of "strictness".
     
  13. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Nov 22, 2012

    :yeahthat: Well said pwhatley!
     
  14. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Nov 22, 2012

    I feel like I'm the same as my first year.
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 22, 2012

    And did you get the message at your disciplinary hearing? It's coming through to us quite loud and clear!
     
  16. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Nov 22, 2012

    I think I did this. In my 5th year of teaching I think I've reached the almost perfect balance. My first year I was laid back, and really tried to teach students as if they were my own kids. We had a good year, but I think I didn't have high enough expectations for them.

    My second year I was all about academic achievment and pretty strict. I went a little overboard. I didn't have the bond built that I needed to with some of the more problem students.

    By my third year, I had attended many PDs on teaching children with behavior issues, and learned to balance what each individual student could do.
     
  17. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 22, 2012

    Sounds like you're in a good place!
     
  18. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Nov 22, 2012

    This exactly mirrors my experience. I'm so much more effective now that I don't need to be strict. I love my job.
     
  19. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Nov 22, 2012

    My situation is a little different. Since I'm an SLP, I can have the same students from K all the way to 6th grade, unless they move. After a year of having me as their speech therapist, they already know my rules.
     
  20. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Nov 22, 2012

    I guess it depends on what you consider strict. My first year I let my kids get away with EVERYTHING. They would talk constantly and I barely got any teaching in. I remember the first time I yelled at them I felt so guilty that I was about to leave on my lunch break and buy everyone cupcakes.

    My second year, I was no nonesense. i hollared, screamed, took recess like it was going out of style.

    It wasn't until my fourth year that I became what some people might view as "stricter" but really it's just me using consistancy and focusing on routines and procedures those first two weeks of school.

    This is my sixth year of teaching and honestly the only time I really have to raise my voice is when I've done poor planning and/or I haven't prepared. I've found that for the most part, if you keep kids busy with work on or a little above their level, they don't get into as much mischief. (Of course, depending on the year, there might be one or two knuckle heads, but this year,I'm blessed with teacher-pleaser kiddos)

    I'm friendly and approachable and a lot happier because I know I have control of my class, but at the same time, I don't let the kids get away with nearly as much.

    I'm respectful toward my students and in turn expect the same back. Even when a kid gets in trouble, I've established that you take your punishment and deal with it. If you cry, scream, suck your teeth, yell at me, etc it then you wake the sleeping beast within and your punishment goes from a 2 to a 10.

    If you are accountable for your actions, then I am forgiving and willing to give the child a fresh start.

    I think I've become more of a "teacher first, role model second, parent/guardian figure third and a "friend" last" whereas when I first started teaching, I was so worried about being liked. Now, I don't really think about it and I find that I'm the favorite teacher on my grade level who has kids from previous years stopping by my room often as well as parents.
     
  21. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Nov 22, 2012

    I'm the "tough" first grade teacher at my school. Some days, I feel like a drill sergeant. However, I do temper the toughness with a LOT of love. I have high expectations of my students, both academically and behaviorally, and they know that. Interestingly, I seem to be the teacher that all the other teachers want their own children to have!
     
  22. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Nov 22, 2012

    :yeahthat: EXACTLY
     
  23. heykevin

    heykevin Rookie

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    Nov 23, 2012

    hiiii,

    welcome to this site now i m less strict because one thing i also learned from teaching that best way to make student understand keep yourself calm beacause they are at there learning stage...i hope you understand what i m saying
     
  24. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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    Nov 23, 2012

    Good question...really made me think.

    I think I have the same level of strictness, but I am more effective now. I think part of this is because I am older, and I know a few things that I didn't know then.
     
  25. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nov 24, 2012

    I think it depends on what you mean by strict. I feel that since last year, I would say my strictness probably increased, but in the way that my consistency has increased by a lot. However I used use very harsh consequences last year a lot more often, and I've softened up on that.

    I think as you learn to become more consistent and build up that teacher aura you can afford to be less rigid and strict and rely on the natural respect that some great teachers seem to be able to get from their kids and be more warm and fun.
     
  26. thirdgradebuzz

    thirdgradebuzz Comrade

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    Nov 24, 2012

    I don't yell, I'm not "mean" to the kids. But what I have become moreso each year that I've taught is consistent. The kids know my expectations and I keep a pretty even keel demeanor. No one is surprised to recieve a logical consequence when they act out-- which happens less and less often the more consistent I am.

    I have also noticed the days the kids are acting up more are the days I'm less proactive with positive reinforcement and/or authentic praise. "Eve has her book open and her materials ready to go." "Johnny is standing in line so nicely." "Thank you, Susie, for picking that piece of trash up off the floor." Even one positive comment can have a big impact on class behavior.
     
  27. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Nov 24, 2012

    I think I am still the same level of strict, but every group is so different it's hard to compare. I have to be ON my group this year - they need completely different things than last year's class. What worked last year doesn't faze this group. Consistency and solid planning is the key.
     
  28. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Nov 24, 2012

    Wow...this is the same way I'm feeling. I started teaching when I was 23. I was definitely wet behind the ears!

    I wholeheartedly feel like I'm much more effective now!
     
  29. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Nov 25, 2012

    I agree completely! I was only 21 when I started...

    And I would say that now I'm more "strict" in terms of being explicit with my expectations and procedures, which allows me to be more consistent. Also, I have a better handle on what battles are worth fighting, so to speak, and how to head off possible problems before they get bigger (which can make me seem strict, I suppose, when I stop students from doing something that seems like no big deal on it's own).
     

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