Thursday, November 29, 2007


More work less talk

It seems like my husband can study me very well. He knows when I am happy, uncomfortable, excited or anxious. He tells me that not only my body language but my skin complexion also helps him predict my moods. He can also guess my mood by hearing me talk over the phone. I am really surprised as to how expressive I am. Am I really that expressive or is it that my hubby is a great observer? I am not sure about that but I do know that my students also know to react to me well. Most of the time, just a look of mine does it. I just have to look at them. If they are not looking at me and continuing to goof up, their neighbors gesture them and the kids just freeze. They stop their silly acts and get back to work. I am not exaggerating but telling the truth. After a disastrous start in LA County as a special educator, I moved to Boston school systems. Here I regained my confidence as a capable teacher. My previous experience and consulting of senior teachers helped me to manage an otherwise tough classroom with ease. And, it was surprising to see that the students who would drive others insane were very courteous, polite, and obedient and everything they are supposed to be. Just a look from me would freeze them. If they didn’t, they knew what was coming. Nope! I am not supposed to spank the kids or abuse them. But, I have a behavior management system in place. So the kids lose their stars and also a chance to earn more rewards at the end of the week. The better they behave the more rewards. The less they try the more negative consequences. Moreover, they were also watchful of my big emotional sermons/lectures as to what it feels like to be on the receiving end. Most often they had to experience it and hated it. To add up to it, they knew they could have more fun by listening and doing what was expected of them. I never had any boundaries for their wishes. If they craved for a party, we had it. If they wanted to have some fun time, they got it.
Moreover, after every test (small or big) we had to celebrate the hard work they put it. They just loved to relax after straining for the test (big or small).
Thus, they never complained of tests. They knew something fun was coming up. Hence I had a system set up to take care of their frustration, to encourage the positive effort and also a system in place to discourage a negative effort. I didn’t have to repeat myself at all. My students knew their expectations.

However, when it became tough for the subs to manage them, I had to use the same strategy of making them hear my sermons, creating a situation they created for the substitutes and making them experience how horrible it was to learn and always made them responsible for their behaviors. Irrespective of the person who is teaching, they were told to show their best. I didn’t have to struggle for a long time after that. My students would stay quite even when there was a substitute and did their best every time it was needed.

I do agree that they, like my husband could study my mood but they also accepted the rules, respected me and did not give me a chance to speak my mood out. I feel every teacher can do this. They need to set a structure for the students about the positive and negative consequences. There needs to be constant shaping of the behavior towards the positive and away from the negative behavior. After a strong foundation, you as a teacher do not need to yell at the top of the voice or even say it slowly. Just a look will do the trick. Or may be the color on your face will☺
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