‘With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.’
– Psalm 18:29 NIV
I have come to view my role as an educator in the classroom to that of a coach. The greatest challenge of a coach, from my perspective, is learning to get individuals to work in unity and harmony, instilling confidence in each individual that they are an important part of the team regardless of skill level, ability, or status. To do this, the coach must consistently find effective, creative ways to communicate concepts, expectations, and principles to reinforce the notion of teamwork in a manner that inspires, encourages, challenges, and motivates individuals to personify harmony and unity.
This week, at the closing of the day’s activity discussing what momentum meant to them (i.e., progress, one student said); I explained to my 6th graders that their focus and effort in class exemplified the meaning of momentum (being focused and on task, quietly working without disruption) and to continue they had to make it their individual ambition to reciprocate the next day in class what was demonstrated today. To inspire motivation, I reminded them that their next ‘free day’ (break from work) is now in their hands, so they would have to be like Allstate. I paused for effect, and chuckled to myself as I started to hear the sounds of those who got what I was alluding to. Eventually someone stated, ‘The good hands people.’ Reinforcing the concept of responsibility and self-efficacy by drawing from familiar words they would recognize to say the same thing they hear everyday. The same way I can tire of saying the same thing, they tire too of hearing it. I actually did not plan to say that, but I am thankful God helps me to have timely words to say to get the point across:)
Thriving in the classroom, to me, is being able to actualize what I envision for myself and my students. Applying the principle of Beginning with the End in Mind from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, envisioning how I desire my students to behave should also include what steps (actions) I plan to take, along with the behaviors I must model, in order to affect, influence, and inspire the desired behaviors for my students to emulate. I tell teachers, it must be in me to inspire my students to demonstrate it. I must model and speak consistently what I expect them to follow. It must be for me, a way of communicating (second nature language) that is consistent and flows without sounding demanding, harsh, or critical. The expression of my expectation is spoken from a place of confidence, self-control, and compassion that is firm, but soft in tone.
May God bless you and help you to consistently and continuously transition and progress as an educator towards success and prosperity in managing your classroom and maintaining order.