Confessions of a male teacher...

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by lark265, Jun 26, 2017.

  1. lark265

    lark265 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 26, 2017

    I have been teaching in Special Education for ten years now. Even at my first job I had significant difficulty with classroom management. It was a Resource Class of about 9 boys and 4 girls (7th and 8th grade). I felt helpless when they refused to do work, talked and laughed amongst each other, major disrespect and disregard to me. Anyway, as a male, I think I began to take this as a hit to my ego - I mean, why couldn't a full-grown man manage these little kids? And, also as a male I think, I refused to reach out for help. Again, I "should" know this stuff!! It became a year from Hell and I was not re-elected at that job. And I continued this pattern unfortunately. Anyway, here I am and I am "starting over" with my teaching approach. Not exactly where to turn, but I know I need to reach out......I need help.
     
    Wonderer likes this.
  2.  
  3. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    1,356
    Likes Received:
    844

    Jun 27, 2017

    Some important ideas you might want to consider. Teaching is not about being male or female, it's about being a person. Students are not little kids that you can control, they are people. Respect is not something that you demand, it is what you must give. Learning is not the absorption of teacher presented facts, it is applying new information and skills. Behavior is not something that can be manipulated with rewards and punishments, behavior is the normally expected method of functioning in a classroom society; (rewards might be a fun fringe benefit but not an ultimate incentive; penalties are a necessary and consistent part of any societal system, not a way to force kids to behave).

    I would recommend focusing on your role as a guide. The students are led into a wonderland of interesting ideas and accomplishments. Rather than threatening the students with "you better behave or else", and rather than applying incentives for good behavior, and certainly never upping the reward when the first reward doesn't seem sufficient, guide the students in understanding classroom procedures. When a student misbehaves, politely discuss the situation with the student and guide the student into a more appropriate plan of action, checking up on him/her as time goes on. In the meantime, develop a professional relationship with each student by listening to them. Your smile, your attentive listening (to stories about how they kicked a football, how they rode their bike the other day, the funny show they saw on TV, the nightmare they had about being chased by an alligator), and especially, far and above anything else, your encouragement achieves far more than any lecture, yelling, or missing a thousand recesses.

    One final thought. Grading papers stinks! It's a necessary evil in most school systems, but when kids try, and don't make the A, they focus on what they did wrong, don't even realize how close they might be to achievement, and then they are pushed ahead to the next lesson. In other words, they are taught that they failed (even if it was in the 80% range), and now they must fail again at something harder that they still don't understand. After all, they have learned they are working for a letter grade, and not working to learn. Somehow, while still staying within your school's expected protocol for teachers, the students need to forget about working for the grade. They need to be guided into attempting their current understanding, evaluating if they achieved the goal, and then retrying a new perspective. Sometimes showing the student what to do is best, sometimes asking scaffolding questions can guide the student to discovering a better method, sometimes cooperative learning is the best route, but especially, this trial and error needs to be viewed as the normal and the best process for learning anything, that everyone learns by correcting mistakes, the best scientific discoveries come from mistakes (such as non-stick frying pans) and accidents (such as microwave ovens). Mistakes are good. Let me rewrite that. Mistakes are GOOD! (Getting it right the first time is also good; sometimes younger students misunderstand the point and try to make mistakes). :)

    Some great resources that might help:
    Abeles, Vicki; Grace Rubenstein. Beyond Measure: Rescuing an Overscheduled, Overtested, Underestimated Generation. N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, 2015

    Aldrin, Buzz with Ken Abraham. No Dream Is Too High: Life Lessons from a Man Who Walked on the Moon. D.C.: National Geographic, 2016 (A great example for students on how we all learn from mistakes. Warning: the book does contain the "a" word).

    Boaler, Jo. Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students’ Potential through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages and Innovative Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2016

    Kohn, Alfie. Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s Praise, and other Bribes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1993 I'd take this book with a grain of salt. Although I agree with his overall thesis, I do question if he goes overboard a bit in the application and also the experiments mentioned were in artificial environments (out of necessity, of course) rather than normal, everyday experiences.

    Levine, Mel. The Myth of Laziness. N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, 2003 A superb discussion on what really occurs in an "underachieving" child's mind.

    Miller, Donalyn. The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009

    Siegel, Daniel J. and Tina Payne Bryson. No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind. New York: Bantam, 2014. E-book ISBN is 978-0-345-54805-4. Library nbr. is 649.1 I highly recommend this book!
     
    czacza, Peregrin5, mathmagic and 2 others like this.
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    14,067
    Likes Received:
    1,884

    Jun 27, 2017

    :agreed: I couldn't agree more with every word of this!
     
  5. rpan

    rpan Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Messages:
    703
    Likes Received:
    540

    Jun 27, 2017

    Took the words right out of my mouth!
     
  6. lark265

    lark265 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 27, 2017

    uummm.....never mind
     
  7. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2013
    Messages:
    569
    Likes Received:
    75

    Jun 27, 2017

    Obadiah likes this.
  8. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    1,356
    Likes Received:
    844

    Jun 28, 2017

    Lark265, you sound as if we possibly may have discouraged rather than encouraged you. I've been discouraged, too. I recall my first 4 years of teaching. My third year, after an evaluation, the principal sat at my desk and, right in front of the entire 2nd grade class, criticized my lesson piece by piece. But at that same school, a 4th grade teacher told me, "Obadiah, I didn't really feel like I knew what I was doing until several years into teaching." That was a turning point for me. My fourth year at another school was shaky, to put it mildly, but things began to shift in the right direction. Move ahead to my 10th year, each year I had seen improvement. I took countless workshops (and loved every minute of them). I read. I subscribed to a professional journal, and then to my utter delight, the local library began offering free internet subscriptions to professional journals. Move ahead now to today, 35 years later. Have I arrived at total understanding, management, and teaching ability yet? No. I'm still learning. We all are.

    That's why I think you are a great teacher. You realize where you need to improve and are seeking to improve. I've seen teachers who think they're almost as perfect as God, and in reality they wouldn't even sell at Dollar Tree. The true test of a teacher is that they press forward; they don't just sit in a corner and rot.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 142 (members: 1, guests: 124, robots: 17)
test