Help, I'm too stern...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by heavens54, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Feb 17, 2013

    I want to be more relaxed. I need to lighten up. I know this. My kids come in not on grade level and with bad study skills. I need to train them on how to be good students. But my methods are overbearing sometimes. Can you help me learn to lighten up and be the teacher that they want to be with? I've tried various changes, but I still fall back into my bad habits of tension and tight structure. It works for some, but not for all. Is there a book? A website? A strategy? I want to be the best teacher for my students. I want my class to be a place where my students want to spend time. I think I just expect too much from them. Advice? Comments? Quotes? Blogs? Help? Thanks.

    :confused: :help: :confused:
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Feb 17, 2013

    None from me. If you are stern, truly stern, then I say Kudos to you. If you cross over into mean and overbearing, you might have problems.

    I am known for being stern. And the so-called-good kids love it. They love knowing that rules will be followed and that my classroom is safe. Safe physically, but also a safe place to present ideas and to be accepted for who they really are. No bullying, no disrespect and no wasted time.

    The kids that don't care for my style are the ones that are used to breaking the rules and don't get called out on it.
     
  4. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Feb 17, 2013

    Having extremely high expectations is NOT a bad thing whatsoever.

    My kiddos know that I expect a lot. I set the bar high and they rarely disappoint me.

    However, we do have a lot of fun. I try to do a weekly art project (usually on Fridays) that correlates with what we're learning in language arts, social studies, math, or science. Each Monday, I let the kiddos know what I have planned for Friday, but I tell them that we will only be doing the fun activity if we finish everything I have planned to teach for the week. I remind them that I cannot teach everything I have planned if there's too much talking, playing, etc. They help keep each other "in check" because they don't want to miss out on what we do on Friday afternoons!
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 17, 2013

    Spend time getting to know your students on a more personal level. Greet them when they first walk into school (class) and when they leave. Talk with them a bit about what they did over the weekend or their lives outside of school. Celebrate their successes, both in school and out.
     
  6. mrsc_teaches

    mrsc_teaches Companion

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    Feb 17, 2013

    I teach kindergarten and I am stern firm tough however you want it. I have parents say my class is kindergarten boot camp and then fight to get their kid in my room. Kids like it, they like me they talk about me all of the time reported from parents, tell the parents things must be done my way and years later tell me they miss me and want to come back to kindergarten with me.
    Be stern it's ok, but a joke is good every now and then too :)
     
  7. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Feb 17, 2013

    What do you mean you're "too stern" or "too hard on them"? Maybe you're being too hard on yourself. Kids need structure, routine and consistency...even if they don't want it. If the kids are saying these things to you, I would take it with a grain of salt. I have a reputation for being "too serious" because I don't let them get off task. Kids have a weird way of judging the "effectiveness" of a teacher.
     
  8. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Feb 17, 2013

    I am also the "drill sergeant," or "wicked witch of the south" of first grade at my school. My kids know that I love them, and I tell them (multiple times) that I can be the nicest or the meanest teacher at school, and it's entirely due to the choices that they make. There are consequences to everything we do (good or bad) and many people (and districts) seem to have forgotten that. I take the "Newtonian" stance: For every action, there is an equal re-action, lol.

    Honestly, I am firm and have high standards. Parents want their kiddos in my class. The only people who ever have a problem are (1) kiddos who don't follow the rules and (2) parents who have a problem with following the rules, lol.
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    For me, it is also the parents that think the rules are for everyone else's child, lol.
     
  10. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Feb 18, 2013

    Explain overbearing. I'm not sure. I could cross over at times, to overbearing. Not mean, by my standards. Do I hold them accountable? Yes. They don't get away with much. So it gets to be a struggle sometimes. They come in as "babies" (due to previous teacher) and I want them to develop into responsible students. It can cause friction with students and parents.
     
  11. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Feb 18, 2013

    Students need that control and structure, and that's something I struggle with, so you have a strength there I think, not a weakness.

    However, it is my goal to gain a lot of control and structure but to temper it with some "Love and Logic". I think you should check that book out. It talks about how to let go of some of that control and put SOME of the decisions in the hands of the students so that they can start to become independent and feel self-satisfaction in their capability.

    That's not to say that they won't make mistakes, but the book outlines how to help them learn from those mistakes by letting the consequences be natural and in some cases allowing the students to choose their own consequences for them.

    The result should be, students who feel more capable, an environment in which they WANT to learn to feel better about themselves, a classroom in which some of the control is shared, and a teacher who isn't constantly running after certain kids to get them to do something or has to wrack her brain to find an appropriate consequence for everything. Check it out.
     
  12. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Feb 18, 2013

    Make sure to smile, crack a few jokes, compliment hair bows, earring, shoes, etc. It's possible to be strict, yet personable.
     
  13. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Feb 18, 2013

    Thank you. I will. It's the balance that is difficult for me, I think. It seems like lately my time has been spent chasing down papers and rushing through lessons due to time constraints. There are so many things we need to do. We have a writing test coming up and the students are still struggling with capitals, nouns and commas. Really? We've been going over this stuff since the first week of school. Oh well, letting go is maybe my problem. I will look into getting this book. Thank you again.
     
  14. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    I do, but not enough...
     
  15. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Feb 18, 2013

    I make it a goal of mine to compliment every kid at least once per class period. It can be school related "Wow! What great work so-and-so is doing!" or athletic "man you're a really fast runner" or random "you gotta tell me where you got those earrings so I can go buy some". Once you start doing it every day it becomes a habit and you do it automatically. I also like to speak colloquially with my kids, like "what's up" instead of "good morning".
     
  16. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Feb 18, 2013

    Overall, it is a good thing that you hold them accountable and run a tight ship. Though, I know first hand the seriousness and stress that this can create on a teacher and a class. Here are some things I do so the students work hard, but not get too stressed.

    1. I find non-teaching times to "lighten things up". Sometimes, I play football with the boys or play a game with the girls at recess time. Even at 5th grade, they love that. I also eat lunch with a group of students once or twice a week. We laugh a lot then, and they can relax more.

    2. I use humor. I know funny stories and I also have a few 30 second funny video clips that I will throw in to break the ice, that I use when really needed (maybe once every 2 weeks).

    3. I use icebreakers sometimes to begin an activity.

    4. I praise students a lot in the classroom. If you misbehave in the classroom, there will be consequences, but if later that student behaves, he/she will here about the good choices he/she is making. I make sure I keep the praise as specific as possible and as individual as possible.

    5. I keep a post it note on a clipboard that says "Be patient". I walk around with a clipboard for a lot of the day. I look at that post it note--a lot! Especially, when I feel like I'm going to get upset at a child.

    These help me as I believe in high standards for students, yet I believe they also need to see that we are not always serious and can smile and laugh now and then.:)
     

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