I guess I’m trying to make up for lost time. I’ve been meaning to blog about this for a while now, but I just haven’t had the chance. I’m glad to be procrastinating doing my laundry and blogging instead.
I figured out why one my classes seemed to be getting progressively more poorly behaved. I’ll keep you in suspense while I explain.
One of my classes had a class list that made other teachers cringe. In my wonderful student profile survey, they all explained that they hate math. Joy. They also solely are taking math to get out of high school. Double joy.
As the days progressed, my classroom management got worse. I started out the year as the nice teacher with really strict rules. Then I morphed into the really strict teacher, who was grouchy all the time, and had so many tough rules that I couldn’t possibly enforce them all. I tried detention. Kids didn’t show up, so I doubled it. I had a student who racked up four hours. We had a “Bathroom Board” so that I knew how long my students were gone for washroom and/or drink breaks. Forty minutes is excessive, don’t you think? I don’t really want to go on, but let’s just say that there may or may not have been laser pointers.
I had an epiphany while I was at a conference. I’m not sure where it hit me, or why it did, but it occurred about 10:21 a.m. The more poorly my students behaved, the more worse of a teacher I became. I’d threatened my student with boring notes, and I’d followed through. My classes were getting progressively crappier, as was my students’ behaviour. No wonder. I didn’t enjoy teaching the class, and I’m CERTAIN they didn’t enjoy being there either.
So I decided to change things. I took about a week and sunk the majority of my time into revamping my entire upcoming unit plan. I created a “flip-flopped” classroom (for an overview, see my previous post).
I can honestly say I was terrified. I had admin support though, so I gave it a shot. And it kind of worked.
I won’t say my management problems are gone, but they are certainly much better and improving as we speak (or write/read as the case may be. Except that it is Saturday, so my students aren’t in my class, but you get my point).
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I learned that teacher-student relationships go both ways. I need to be a good teacher to have good students. I can’t “crappy-teach” them to be good students.