The Longer You Teach, the Meaner You Get

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms. I, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Nov 8, 2007

    Have you noticed that as the years go by, you're meaner, or maybe I'll say firmer than you used to be?

    I've been subbing for several yrs & had my own classroom for one year, but I notice that I'm the firmest I've ever been with the kids when they misbehave. I don't feel guilty about it. It shows me that I can stay on top of it because let's face it, kids are very bad & smart alecky these days. They need a good kick in the rear (not literally of course). I think it's normal & every teacher gets to that point where they have a system that works for them because they've seen it many times before.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 8, 2007

    I don't think I'm meaner.

    I think I'm better able to handle a variety of situations; to adapt and think on my feet.

    I think I'm more consistent; I know what my rules are, don't have to struggle to remember what I said I would do if the kids did ____

    I'm more confident; it shows in my face and voice. When I "ask" a student to pick up a piece of paper or throw out gum, he does it whether he knows me or not, because I've developed a tone of authority that I didn't have when I started.

    I'm not sure I agree that "kids are very bad and smart alecky these days"-- I think that kids are kids and they're pretty much the way they've always been. I think the change I've seen has been in myself and the way I deal with those kids.
     
  4. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I think I'm definitely more firm than I used to be. I coddle a lot less than I did. I still love them and still cry and pray for them nightly, but I'm much more consistent in the room. I find myself working to earn the title of Super Teacher - Able to control unruly students with a single look. :D
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 8, 2007

    There's a difference between firm/on top of things and mean. I'm firm, fun and fair. You can have a cooperative respectful and 'fun' classroom climate but still have complete control.
     
  6. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    I would definitely say I am firmer, and this may be seen by students as meaner but......

    I don't have any discipline problems anymore. My first year, I let the kids get away with so much, trying to be their friends - and they pushed me around!

    The kids learn a lot more, because I can work at a faster pace now that I know "how stuff works."

    I just feel like, a fine wine, I have gotten better with age :)
     
  7. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I have had my own classroom for two years and subbed for two years. I can definitely see a more firmer side to myself. I am a lot more consistant in the classroom this year (when I'm subbing) than I have been in the three previous years. I think I finally learned that these students don't want a teacher that's their friend, they want a teacher that is there to teach them. I had previously stayed away from 8th grade b/c I didn't think I could handle them. I subbed in an elective class yesterday for 7th and 8th graders and I was amazed how I got along with them. I was very firm with them, but then I was able to be fun when the work was done. They did the work, then they had a fun activity to perform. It was great! Its just taken me time to realized what exactly it takes....and like Christy said, when I get my own classroom (hopefully next year), I'm gunning for that Teacher of the Year award. :D
     
  8. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    I am very glad to see that not everybody equates "firm, strict, and fair" with "mean."

    They are not the same thing. Nope, not the same thing at all.
     
  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Absolutely! I work with a teacher who is mean; she is as far from firm, strict, and fair as there is.
     
  10. amarie

    amarie Rookie

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    I definitely agree. Sometimes you have to be firm, even when it is uncomfortable, so that kids understand how to deal with rules and regulations. It might seem mean to them, but the firmness is done out of love. Even if they don't care about their education, I do care that they are prepared in life. For some of my kids, I think I'm one of the only people that cares.
     
  11. Jarenko

    Jarenko Companion

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    I think a lot of people cannot distinguish what strict and mean behavior is. Many people I know, in an attempt to gain control and be firm just become mean. I think many people get worn down as time goes on and lose their patience. It is an indication of poor stress management and that they may be too involved in their jobs and not involved enough with pleasing themselves. It is a tragedy, but too many people dare to run that gauntlet.
     
  12. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    Nov 8, 2007

    Firm + pleasant attitude = good teacher

    Firm + nasty attitude = meanie

    does that sound right?
     
  13. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    Nov 8, 2007

    YEP!! :lol:
     
  14. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Yes, there definitely is a difference between mean & firm. It's just too bad most kids can't tell the difference. I wish more of them knew that the way us teachers act is for their own good.
     
  15. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Hello I am Irishdave and I am a meanie

    er er is this the 12 step room?
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 9, 2007

    One day at a time, Dave.
     
  17. teachingmomof4

    teachingmomof4 Groupie

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    I would have to agree with Aliceacc's first post...I have more confidence, consistancy, and am more firm. That goes with the years of experience.

    I don't think I'm mean...I'm consistant but fair. I have high expectations and clear consequences that apply to all my students. I care deeply for my students (each and every one of them even if they do drive me bonkers) but I am much more able to handle situations now that I have experience.
     
  18. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    "Mean" is a very encompassing term for kids....

    To kids, parents are "mean" when they won't give you the car, take away your phone, or won't give you all their money. I think parents are "mean" when they beat you black and blue, starve you, or emotionally torture you.

    To kids, cops are "mean" when they give you speeding ticket, give you a DUI, or take away your license. To me, cops are mean when they beat you up on a busy highway, put you in a cell with a murderer, or lie about you in court.

    Many professionals who have a job to do are considered "mean." Judges, lawyers, doctors, teachers, cops, and Federal agents to name a few.

    Kids just need a better vocabulary. That's why we teach :)
     
  19. Docere

    Docere Rookie

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    Personally, I think that, as the years go on, a great teacher becomes more firm, a mediocre teacher meaner, and a bad teacher quits all together. Of course, some kids will call a teacher who is merely being firm "mean." However, I think that most can distinguish and appreciate the difference, especially the older grades. In fact, I think that kids actually like a firm teacher more than ones they can walk all over. Not to mention they have zero respect for any teacher they can push around.
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 10, 2007

    You know, it's funny. Something along these lines came up yesterday.

    My 6th period honors freshman class is a wonderful group of kids. They're bright and outgoing and funny. But they've been pushing just a bit too much lately, in the name of being funny..."how do you KNOW the train left Chicago at 8 am? Was that Central or Eastern Time?" kind of stuff.

    So yesterday I stopped and let them know they had crossed a line and were going to take a few steps back. I said I was OK with humor, but it was changing the tone of the class and was becoming less respectful towards me and towards the material I teach.

    As I was talking, I saw one or 2 of the quiet girls nodding their heads a bit. I finished, the tone changed, and they became those wonderful kids I love to teach. It wasn't a humor-free class... we enjoyed a good laugh when someone answered "obese" instead of "obtuse".... but that two minute lecture was able to reel back the attitude.

    I think THAT's what I'm now able to accomplish that I might have once strugged with.
     
  21. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Nov 10, 2007

    My boss calls it "having high expectations."
     
  22. Ponypal

    Ponypal Comrade

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    Nov 10, 2007

    In the beginning, I assume that students just need to learn what is expected from them, and I work with that. However, soon after, when the "honeymoon" is over, I expect that my students use appropriate behavior. If students need to be re-directed for some reason, I am direct and firm and let them know right away what consequence will occur for undesired behaviors. This year especially, I have found myself to be even more effective than in past years. When the usually well behaved students go astray, I still have to follow through, with a consequence. Some students will call the teacher "mean", because they feel it's your fault for their infraction, and some will just accept the consequence and learn from the experience. I don't want to pull out this card... but,the situations that I have experienced, seems to equate with the amount of parent support and seems to have a lot to do with "who is mean and who is not."
     

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