Tough Love?

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by SubMarine, May 2, 2016.

  1. SubMarine

    SubMarine New Member

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    May 2, 2016

    So everyone, I want to talk about the topic of 'Tough Love' Classroom Management.

    I am simply a Substitute Teacher, so my techniques have to be somewhat unique simply because I only deal with Students for 45 minutes each period (things have to be quick, to the point, and very well managed!), but at this point in my career, I've been a permanent Sub at one of the local High Schools, and as of now, I've taught every Student in the building multiple times and have a fantastic relationship with all of them.

    However, for me, I have a very Tough Love style, and it seems to work wonders. Now, that's not saying I'm mean, or that I'm not appropriate in my grammar or language - I'm as decent as any of these Coaches who also Teach (actually, I'm quite more sophisticated...) BUT for Classroom and Behavior Management, I'm simply Tough Love.

    And from my point of view, it works wonders - my Students absolutely adore me, they joke around with me when appropriate, they work silently when appropriate, and I never, ever have to actually "scold" anyone or give out any sort of consequences. My Students get the point and get it in a way that they also feel supported and liked. Even if I'm Tough Love, I ask the Students about their day, they ask me about mine, we talk about Classroom Subjects as well as Interests and Accomplishments, and they always are so focused when I'm in the room - and I've seen these same Students TEAR UP other Subs in the building!

    There's so many folks who are obsessive about pleases, thank-you's, and being pretty and pristine when Teaching. Has anyone, especially those who are having problems, simply tried being themselves, being human, being Tough Love and yet also extremely Supportive? Because as it is, I simply love my job, I love my Students, and they all love me. I've pretty much disregarded any types of Classroom Management lessons or books, going with my own style, experiments, and techniques, and I've wound up with amazing tools.

    But then again, I do also have that "passion" for coaching and correcting behaviors on the spot. I love being the one to make that difference, not an administrator or guidance counselor. I love being that influence even beyond educational subjects. My Students love my points of view and tend to be in awe at how successful I am in the class. My Students don't argue with me (and if they rarely do, I argue back! And win!) and I always remember that I actually WANT my Students to be quite brave - if I ever make a simple mistake in the Classroom, my Students always tell me out loud right then and there, and it always helps because I wouldn't want an Administrator to walk in if I've spelled 'theory' wrong on the board! I chuckle at my own mistakes, and the banter between me and my Students is usually very funny and friendly.

    Lastly, I don't even have rules, I don't have expectations, these are teenagers! They don't care about that mess! What I do is simply tell them that their mess is over with! It's done! It lets them know that I know that they know their malarky is ridiculous! I don't get caught up in rule and expectation battles! I let my Students know that they are old enough to make the right choices, that they already know how to behave, and it always works. It's really successful.

    The point that proves it though, is that I have over 50+ hours of experience in simply observing classroom teachers. The new ones always have horrible classes because they stick to the uptight script. The old, nearly retired teachers have fantastic classes because the teacher is blunt, to-the-point, yet friendly and supportive, and it's such a better atmosphere if you really pay attention. The students are learning better, the teacher is happier, and the systems are just better without the teacher even trying. The students just are told how it is, and learn to respect the teacher, not the system.

    At the end of the day, what do you want? Do you want the Students to respect you and your personal peeves, or do you want the Students to respect the "system"? Because they won't do both. You have to choose between the two, in my opinion, and I choose "me". Especially for my own sanity and enthusiasm. And I have wonderful Students simply because I never listened to any higher-ups! Literally, the worst-behaved Students in the School absolutely adore me and sit quietly for me! And shake my hand when they leave class! (They'll even whisper what a bad-@ I am when they leave class... that always makes me feel so effective!)

    But I also want to hear back about what you guys think works as well! Do the prim and proper styles also work for you? Or have you found yourself becoming more blunt and honest as time goes on, with better results? Thank you!
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 2, 2016

    I'm glad that you found something that works for you. I might suggest that your methods might not work for everyone, especially when you promote arguing back with students.

    You mention some teachers being "pristine" and "prim and proper" about saying please and thank you. I guess to me manners are important no matter who I'm with, be it students or strangers.

    Can you describe a little about the demographics of the students you typically work with?
     
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  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    May 3, 2016

    I do agree with some of what you have said. I have high expectations for my students, both academically and behaviour-wise; I'm tough and don't shy away from holding my students accountable. Yesterday afternoon, most of the students had a turn sweeping the floor because of the amount of mud they tracked in from outside and several had some explaining to do as to why assignments weren't finished.

    I don't agree, however, with not having rules or expectations, or about arguing with students. The school has expectations for the students--they are there to provide a safe learning environment for everyone. While I don't always agree with every rule, it's my job to enforce them. If everyone enforces the rules, fewer kids try to break them.

    Most students like me, I think, although that's not of primary importance to me. They know that I care about them and that the decisions I make, the nagging I do, and the challenges I give them are all because I want them to be the best you can be.
     
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  5. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    May 3, 2016

    If it works for you, great.

    Your style wouldn't work for me. I'm one of those "pristine" and "prim and proper" ones. I am with my students every day for several years and I want them to leave my classroom with the expectations and behaviors of responsible adults who can be respected by their peers, and obtain a successful job. I do that by teaching them how to be responsible, caring students who realize that, in life, we all have to follow rules and regulations.

    I'm glad you have almost two weeks under your belt observing other teachers. I'm glad you are loved and adored by everyone you come into contact with. I'm not sure that limited experience gives you cause to expect that teenagers shouldn't have rules and expectations, though. I only have 40+ years of teaching experience. I'll keep my style, thank you.

    But, good luck. Are you interested in becoming a full time classroom teacher?
     
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  6. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    May 3, 2016

    I think a lot of what you describe is a "style" that comes from time and experience, and not something that would work for most new teachers. As new teachers, we need to have a firm plan to follow as we are inevitably tested by students. Over time, I think we all develop our own style and system that works for us as individuals. What works for you, might not work for me. If "prim and proper" isn't your style, fine -- but that doesn't mean it's wrong for me.
     
  7. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    May 4, 2016

    I think the key thing you point out is being yourself. That was the game-changing piece of advice my first principal gave me when I was still a struggling new teacher. He told me not to try to be "Mrs. So-in-So" or "Mr. What's-His-Name", but to simply be ME. Teach the way that fit MY personality. I wasn't a very secure person at the time, and still struggle with that somewhat, but 14 years into this profession, I've gotten pretty confident and comfortable in my role as an educator. I do tend to have a more blunt, joking style that stems from my natural personality. That's who I am, and luckily, teenagers seem to respond well to it.

    That's not to say my classroom management is perfect. There are always students who cannot quite handle the more laid back atmosphere in my classroom. They take advantage, cross over the line between joking and disrespect, and I have to break out some "tough love" to rein them back in and remind them who is in charge. Some teachers don't ever want to be in that position where they have to confront a student, but by the time I get to that point with mine, we've already got a good enough rapport that I can have a little "Come to Jesus" meeting with them and it's all good. Most of my discipline issues I handle on the spot in my classroom and then all is forgiven and forgotten and we move on. Occasionally a student just refuses to straighten up, and I send them out to our ISS room (right across the hall from me). When they return, all is forgotten and forgiven and we go on like nothing ever happened.

    I always tell my students that I want more than anything to give them a lot of freedom and opportunities to have fun while learning. But they have to be mature enough to handle the freedom and fun. If they can't, the freedoms and fun are reduced. This puts the ball in their court. I'm going to teach what I need to teach one way or the other. It's up to them whether or not they get the fun version or the not-so-fun version.
     
  8. SubMarine

    SubMarine New Member

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    May 5, 2016

    Thank you guys for your point of view! And don't worry, every single post above incorporates all the more professional techniques I also incorporate - I brag that I'm a bit of a bad-@ Teacher but really, I can also be very policy driven, patient, and structed half of the time too. It's more like I change my personality and style literally for every situation or class that comes up, but the main point is that I never cross that line into being a "fed up teacher." I think that's the main thing I try to avoid as that stone-cold personality is something that I personally just hate having to do (if rare time calls for it.) Sometimes, the prim and proper style translates as "cold" to the Students and no matter what I do, even if I get agitated, I still simply try to instill some form of humor or some sort if sardonic facial expression that is so expressive that the Students can at least have fun talking crap about my facial expressions after the bell rings. Teaching is like the ultimate form of acting lol, and I just really enjoy being the star of the show. But I never want to be that Teacher where the Students think I'm so stupid that I have to read off a script that the Principal typed. I have a relative who's a Teacher, and she's stone-cold, prim, proper, and reads a "these are my expectations for today's agenda" script and the Students hate her, destroy her class, and she comes home every day crying. I just want to scream out, "Well, be a fun teacher!!!" It's her first year and she's likely not to return... And yet her same Students adore me because I know how to play them! (I've Subbed for all her Students before!)

    When it comes to rules, see as a Sub, I really don't have time for rules - they know the rules as any Teacher with a grain of sense has already been drilling that in for the Students' whole life. If I see something going wrong, I just correct it. I usually never have time to explain my own rules as classes are just 40-45 minutes and plans are chocked full. If I was a real Teacher, I'd have so many (truly good!) systems in place that it'd be unreal; I just can't do that as a Sub. Teaching is very different from Subbing.

    And when my Students are good, I go into fairy godmother mode. I always have several Students who voluntarily clean the class for me or help me in tasts. They just do it becsuse they like me, I let my personality do the talking. I don't ask for help; I let them like me and want to help. The rare times they litter and know it, I don't do a "I realize that you may not have done that on purpose and I am not sure because you are a valued Student, but would you like to pitch in and help keep our room clean! Thank you so much and many blessings for your coperation!" Schtick that so many Teachers do.

    Instead, I say, "Can you pick that up and throw it away? That's nasty. Looks like a pig sty over here." If by chance they argue, I just pick it up myself, and I pretend that my Scoliosis, which actually prevents me from bending down all the way, is extremely painful, where I put on a show, moan and wince in pain, and say aloud "Oh, I wish someone in the class would be kind enough to not make me do this." Suddenly, 5 Students jump up to help and it makes the litterer look like an an absolute tool and a fool.

    That's the real world right there. Grammar, pleases, thank-you's, and shoving etiquette down throats in a School-scripted way does not Teach anything but to only do what those in charge say. It does not Teach Students to truly help those in need, and to be careful of their environment. You actually have to touch their emotions. The way I see it, the Students need a first-hand account of just how painful it is to be a janitor. I was once one of those too. It's backbreaking. They'll learn that real quick in the real woul
     
  9. Sassy98

    Sassy98 Rookie

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    May 7, 2016

    You are a "real" teacher. You are teaching children. Not all lessons come from a syllabus. It is important for your students to know to be polite. They will interact with others in their daily life more than they will subjects taught in class. As for not having rules, every classroom sets rules. Its best to let yourself and your students outline what it is that you expect for the 40 - 45 minutes they are in your room. The school year is just about over. However, I suggest you start the new school year off, Day 1, with outlining Class Rules. I usually let the students suggest what should be written as a rule. Its a great reminder for the next time they enter your classroom, if you hang your positive class rules in sight.
     
  10. teacherquestions

    teacherquestions Rookie

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    Jul 8, 2016

    When you say youre a "tough love" teacher, how do you set this up up front on the first day of school?
     

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