How do you remain calm??????

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by nstructor, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    Oct 2, 2011

    Just wondering what you all do to remain calm and not raise your voice when you're angry with your students?
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 2, 2011

    Oh, when I occasionally get really angry, my voice gets VERY quiet.
     
  4. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I'm the same as Alice, I get very quiet. I am normally quite loud (so much so that the next door teacher sometimes shuts my door :lol:) When I get angry, I get quiet and my voice turns very serious. The kids know I mean business right away.
     
  5. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    I'm extremely loud and when I get angrier, I get louder. How do you stay quiet and calm?
     
  6. roxstar

    roxstar Companion

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    If you are naturally loud like myself, it takes practice and is deliberate. Making your voice quieter will actually calm you down. Take a nice deep breath before you speak, they are already doing something they shouldn't be, 3-5 more seconds is not going to make a difference. Take 2 if you need to, in order to gather your thoughts. I simply say, this is not the procedure for....whatever...and you are making poor choices right now. If the whole class is just off task and talking that is where I go. Then we "practice" the procedure. I put quotes around practice because at this point in the year, they already know what they are supposed to do. (at least they should. Make sure it is not confusion over what is expected of them.) I let them know, still in a very calm voice, that anyone not following the procedure at this point will be spoken to and be given a consequence. I don't say what it will be because sometimes I need to think calmly about that too. Then we continue and I will walk up to students and start, privately speaking to students. It has worked well so far!
     
  7. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I remember not to take it personally. It's not like I'm ever intentionally mean or cruel to a student, so if they respond to me with anger, then I know it has nothing to do with me. I just detach myself emotionally, and try to figure out what's going on with the student.
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think the key is to not let yourself get angry in the first place.

    These are students. They are at school because they don't know how everything works yet. Some of them don't know how to behave. Depending on the age you work with, there might be rampant hormones at play. It's silly to get mad at crazy hormones. You just have to learn to deal with them.

    I think of my troublesome students as like a sink full of dirty dishes. I don't get mad at the dishes for being dirty. I don't stand there screaming at them going, "Why can't you just be clean like the ones in the cupboard? Argh!" Instead, I just roll up my sleeves and start washing. I might complain a little after the fact, and it might take me a while, but eventually I'll get those dishes pretty clean, or at least cleaner than they were. The same goes for students who don't know how to behave. They'll leave my room at the end of the year a little brighter and a little shinier than when they came in. It's all I can do.
     
  9. roxstar

    roxstar Companion

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    I LOVE it!:thumb:
     
  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Fabulous post, Caesar!
     
  11. Silmarienne

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    :D For me it is key to have a structured discipline plan in place, to know what your response is going to be when something happens. It just takes so much stress off to have a plan. Then I don't have to be angry because it's all part of the school day.

    That's not to say I never get angry. ;) But like others, I use the quiet voice, very slow and clear, that lets kids know I mean business.
     
  12. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I learned the value of a low, calm voice over a loud angry voice several years ago when a friend of mine (who was a professional counselor) did an exercise with me. He told me to say "I want it" to him and he would say "You can't have it". We would continue this exercise, using the entire range of vocal levels, from shouting to almost whispering. After we finished, he asked how I felt when I was doing this. I wasn't really sure at first and he asked "Didn't you feel more confident when you used a lower voice instead of shouting?" I thought about it and realized he was right.

    When we KNOW we are in control of a situation, we don't feel the need to shout. We just state our intentions or directions in a low, calm voice. When we shout, that implies we don't really have control and we're trying to get what we want through intimidation. I've used that lesson in many situations over the years and it has always served me well.

    I mentioned in another thread that I was subbing in a 7th grade class recently when one of the students in my 4th or 5th class of the day remarked "You seem very calm". I said "This isn't my first time doing this." It reflects the comments of an earlier poster that reminded us not to take their comments personally. I understand students are going to "test" me more than a regular teacher since I'm a sub. So I expect a little bit of extra activity and comments from them. I just let their comments slide off my back and continue on with the class.

    I also do the same as most other teachers....if I DO get angry, I tend to become very quiet and, in fact, will often stop talking at all. Even if I'm subbing, the class figures out very quickly they've crossed the line and usually quiet down immediately.

    Caesar - I LOVED that analogy. I actually laughed out loud at the visual of standing in the kitchen yelling at the sink of dirty dishes. That was priceless! :lol: I also like your analogy that the students come away from your class a little cleaner and shinier than they were when they came in. :thumb: That's a great perspective for all teachers to have.
     
  13. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    Oct 4, 2011

    I agree-thank you all so much for your advice!
     
  14. PinkCupcake

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    I will stop, take a deep breath, and my voice gets slow and low. I try to count to 5 in my head before I have the urge to yell.
     
  15. AF Mom

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    Great post Caesar!! I can see a sink load of kids being washed until they are clean and ready to move on. Great!!!!!
     
  16. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    How to stay calm:
    take a deep breath
    in your head, say, "this is a cup". Now, say what you need to say, as if you are just saying, "this is a cup".

    When my kids are being crazy, I also say, in a very low, even voiced tone what I need to say, and no more. I give them the look, and move on.
     
  17. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    I agree that avoiding anger is the best approach.

    For me, this is less about my students (though I agree with Caesar for the most part) than it is about my professionalism. When I let myself get angry, I say things that are better left unsaid. Once out, they cannot be recalled.

    So in order to avoid saying something I'll regret, I try all kinds of workarounds to deal with conflict before it gets to the level of "angry." If I stay rational, everything goes better.
     
  18. loka1282

    loka1282 Rookie

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    Oct 11, 2011

    Just believe that you are in complete control without the need for getting angry (over the situation). The situations around you will keep testing you as long as you respond to it. Just believe that you are in complete control. Stay detached from the situation. Remember staying detached is different from staying indifferent.
     
  19. GAteacher87

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    Oct 11, 2011

    I agree that yours is a WONDERFUL post, Caesar! So, so, so true. :) I do think that staying detached (and as someone said above me, that does not mean indifferent...) is key. I know what I have to do every day, and I know (or at least have an idea of) what my challenges are, and some of those, of course, include behavior. It'll be okay, and they'll learn one day. I'm just one part of teaching them how the world works. :)
     
  20. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    Oct 11, 2011

    I don't become angry because it shows I have lost control. I calmly explain the problem and the consequence and then turn my back and move on. I also question myself as to whether I am part of the problem. Have I trained the students properly? Do they need more practice?
    Another thing that helps is to realize that in my school the students are use to anger at home. Me yelling will not really make a difference. I am just one more loud angry person in their lives. Is that who I want to be to my students?
    Itell my students if you here me yell then something is horribly wrong and you better pay attention. I would only yell if there was a fire or a somebody needed medical aide.
    I treat my students the way I want my own children treated. I do not want a teacher to be yelling in my child's class because my children are use to a very calm and quiet home. Yelling would make them nervous.
    Finally, yelling comes at too high of a cost to me. It is hard on my voice, makes me cranky, and leaves me unsettled all day.
     
  21. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    I'm really trying to NOT yell when I'm angry! What do you do to avoid this, especially when you're working with a small group of kids and the rest are working independently, and a few may be fooling around. I HATE having to stop my instruction with my group to talk to the ones who aren't behaving, but I feel like I have to raise my voice to get them back on track!

    Thanks for your help!
     
  22. Silmarienne

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    Humor also helps a LOT. I teach K and sometimes when kids are getting loud I say, "Noisy noisy girls and boysy!" which is enough to let them know it's getting too much without me nagging. Find something humorous to let kids know you EXPECT it to get quiet and do not need to :eek: to make it happen.
     
  23. SpecialEdTeache

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    Nov 20, 2011

    Love everything that has already been said on this thread. I might add, one thing I NOW do is mention at the BEGINNING of class that classtime is not the time to clean out their notebooks. That should be done somewhere else. I tell them I would not expect them to have over maybe one sheet of paper to throw away and they can do that on their way out of the room after the bell rings. Then, I clearly state that they do NOT have permission to get up and throw things away during class time.

    This has helped immensely to state my expectations up front so students do not get up and walk around the room at random.
     
  24. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    My personality is just not the "yelling" type. I'm normally quiet. When I stop talking, the kids know that they've gone too far. Fortunately, it doesn't happen much.

    I've never had to yell at kids to get them back on track. I see some teachers who try that. It doesn't work well. Some of the kids are so used to being yelled at from parents that they don't even respond, or they get worse

    Plus, they are kids. I'm not going to argue with a child.
     
  25. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    What do you do about sharpening pencils?
     
  26. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    When I taught fifth grade, they had special pencil sharpening times. They were allowed to sharpen their pencils first thing in the morning during our morning math bell work time, right up to before reader's workshop would begin. Then, they could sharpen their pencil during writer's workshop and again at the very end of the day. They were encouraged to have at least two sharpened pencils. If both of them broke, then they had to either ask a neighbor if they could borrow a pencil or borrow a pencil sharpener. I sold pencil sharpeners at my student store in the beginning of the year JUST so they would all have one. :)
     
  27. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I do NOT allow students to sharpen pencils during class. EVER!

    I have a "Sharp Basket" and "Dull Basket." If the students need a sharp pencil, they drop their dull pencil in the dull basket and grab a sharp one from the sharp basket.
     
  28. linswin23

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    I have started a mantra. When I get angry (which I try not to let myself do) I say to myself in my head, "I do not need the approval of 12-year-olds". This helps me A LOT. I'm a first year, and I have luckily realized that I'm not there to be my children's friends--I'm their teacher. When they get rowdy I have been trying to lower my voice so that only a few of them can hear me. This requires them to all be quiet so they can hear me. I feel like this helps more than raising my voice to talk over them. I am all about time. When they are being disruptive and I have to stop and wait until they are quiet I remind them that they are wasting THEIR time, not mine. I usually give them the last chunk of the class period to work on homework, and I remind them that the more they talk while I'm teaching, the more homework they'll have to do at home (which they HATE! Haha!)
     
  29. isabunny

    isabunny Comrade

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    I am head over heals for the "Love and Logic" parenting and teaching classroom management program. I have all the books, CD's and videos. I can't speak highly enough about the methods! Being calm, cool and collected is so important for all classroom situations. Whatever behaviors you display in front of you students (yelling, being agitated, frustrated, ect...), you are actually teaching them to do when they get mad. If you can handle all situations with a calm, cool and collected demenor you are modeling the "right" way to behave. It takes practice and you have to learn patience, but if you really exhibit self control it can work wonders!
     
  30. ihollywould

    ihollywould Rookie

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    I love the tip of staying calm and quiet. I learned it from my mother, who works the customer service desk at our local K-Mart. Naturally, she gets some very irate customers who just scream at her. She never raises her voice above a conversational level and in fact, she gets nicer and nicer.

    I subbed in a school that had a lot of mouthy middle school girls, one whom decided to attempt to get into it with me. She started screaming and insulting me - basically doing everything just shy of verbal harassment. Inside, I was absolutely furious and filled with rage at this girl's attitude toward someone who was essentially a complete stranger, but outwardly, I became calmer and calmer. I gave her a saccharine smile and spoke to her in disgustingly polite terms.

    In retrospect, my actions were probably pretty passive aggressive, seeing as my sweetness and calmness was enacted in order to "win" (after all, is she going to go to the principal and say I was "too nice" and that I told her, "I respect that you have your own opinion, but I'm afraid I can't understand it when it's being screamed in my face like this. I'd really love to hear your concerns when you've calmed yourself.")
     
  31. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Great post!
     
  32. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I think another strategy - basic though good - is depersonalization: realizing that most behavior isn't directly caused by you, even if triggered. With most behavior problems, the roots of those problems go back much further than the start of the school year. Very rarely have I seen individual teachers plant the seeds of a behavior problem, water them, and watch them grow. Sometimes teachers can do things different, and may serve as lighter fluid on a fire that's already burning, but remember that rarely did you start the fire.

    Visually, I try to say this to myself: "That's interesting. I wonder why he just called me that?" and try to be amused by it. See it as a puzzle to be solved, rather than a personal encounter. Sometimes I pretend that there's a one way mirror in between me and the child, and that the child's can't see me - helps to visually depersonalize the situation by imaging in a very tangible way that the child couldn't possibly be directing it at you.

    Dirty dishes, though - classic, Caesar!
     
  33. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    During several training sessions teachers role-played their worst students. Teachers stood toe to toe. Object was to rattle your partner. Offenders were coached by a trainer to let go with student back talk, whining, gesturing and any "disruption" from their experiences. Receivers were coached, in advance, to take relaxing breaths, relax jaw, place hands in pockets or behind back and think of something pleasant like a favorite vacation spot. Goal was to not show any emotion except a sort of bored and "I've heard this all before, big deal" look. Smiling, tensing face, gesturing and speaking were do overs.

    This was done outside of class on a weekly basis. Some were fast learners and others took more time. Staying calm improved by 85% for those performing correctly.
     
  34. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nice post Loomistrout - I'll have to use that...
     
  35. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Why did you say "smiling was a do-over?" Is smiling in this situation considered passive-agressive?
     
  36. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Smiling when setting limits is often a sign of uncertainty and can signal to student he/she is in control of the situation. Getting a reaction is part of the game for many students. It's not much fun to play in a game with someone who won't join in.

    Smiling can also be a form of back talk originating from the student. I'm sure you have seen it, "smiley face". It's that look of innocence when moving in to do discipline and student gives cutesy smile as if to say, "Who, me?" Some teachers fall for smiley and smile back as if to say, "Everything is OK. I really don't mean it."
     
  37. steacher1

    steacher1 Rookie

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    I find this very interesting. I've tried the stop and wait technique and I always feel like I am wasting my time and their time. Also, I feel like some of them don't care. They are going to finish their conversation no matter what. I haven't tried the lowering the voice technique. I will have to try that. :\
     
  38. samrangel

    samrangel Rookie

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    Never yell in class.

    Never try to speak over the students. Wait for them to stop, then continue.

    I would cross my arms, lean on my stool, say, "I'll wait," and then stare at the student doing the most talking. Within a couple of seconds, they'll be shushing each other until it's quiet. Then I say, "thank you," and go back to teaching.

    Very rarely do I have to call the name of a specific student, but if that student is causing me to wait more than 10 seconds, I will call his name and say, "We're waiting for you."

    I teach my student teachers to never yell or shout in class.

    When you lose your temper, you lose control and respect.

    Sam
     
  39. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Most of the time, I do the same thing...sit down on my stool or lean against the desk with my arms folded waiting on the offending student(s) to be quiet. This works most of the time.

    However, I have shouted over the class to make them be quiet immediately at times. Usually, this happens when a student or students either keep interrupting me while I'm talking or carry on a loud side conversation and completely ignore other attempts to quiet them down.

    I guess you could classify it as showing a "flash of anger", but I feel that is different from losing my temper. First of all, the command is just that - a quick, loud command to get an immediate reaction. Once the students comply, I go back to my normal voice and demeanor. So I may have looked and sounded angry for a moment, but I immediately revert back to my regular tone to let the kids know the incident is over and done with.
     
  40. samrangel

    samrangel Rookie

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    I can agree with that. I used to call them "strategic detonations." These are meant for effect and part of my strategy and not as a result of my "stressing out."
    Sam
     
  41. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I like that term - strategic detonations. LOL. That describes it very well.

    I have a very powerful voice even when I'm talking in a normal tone. I've told almost all of my classes (at one time or another) that I CAN shout over the top of ALL of them if I really have to, but I can promise them they really don't want me to do that.

    I had one student last year that was very "scattered" in class due to her ADHD. I understand that because I have two sons that are ADHD as well. But there are still limits to the behavior I will allow, even under those circumstances. One day, this student simply would NOT stop talking to her neighbor at all, no matter what I tried; I stopped talking and looked at her (no effect), other kids began shushing her (no effect), I called her by name (no effect), I called her by name again (slightly louder, still no effect). Finally, I did "detonate" and barked the word "QUIET" so loudly, I actually startled our custodian who was cleaning the next room. THAT finally broke through wall of oblivion she had up and got her attention back on the lesson.

    I don't like to do it and I don't do it often, but sometimes that is the only way to get a kids attention.
     

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