‘Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.’
– Psalm 37:7 NIV
Remaining professional as an educator, in spite of how I feel, in the face of misbehavior is not always easy. Inspired from a conversation I had today with a colleague during our planning time, I wanted to share those thoughts with you too. Although I feel I am in an ideal environment, even after 22 years, managing students and maintaining order can still be challenging from time to time. I said this today talking to my colleague. The conversation included, ‘I’ll be honest in admitting I don’t always have positive feelings towards all of my students. I must always step up to the challenge of separating my personal feelings from the behavior and the student so I can consistently, effectively create a positive, productive environment.’
I will admit, sometimes, I want to say, ‘You cannot be in my class anymore,’ ‘I do not like you,’ ‘You make me sick,’ ‘Hit the road, Jack, and dontcha’ come back no more, no more!’ I reminded my colleague of my belief that managing the students is as critical as the lesson planning/instruction. If you measured the amount of actual time you spent instructing compared to the time students spend in independent learning, you will probably find, consistently, that more time is spent managing than instructing. First the period begins with getting everyone seated, settled and on task. ‘Mr. Jones, do you have a pencil?”Mr. Jones, can I go the restroom?”I forgot my homework.’ All this within the first 10 minutes just before or as the warm-up begins. This transitions to, ‘Stop talking, get on task, sit down, return to your seat, keep your hands to yourselves!’ Then, after repeating the instructions 3 times, ‘Mr. Jones, what are we suppose to do?’
I actually told my 6th period class, ‘The bathroom no longer exists for students who are not on task.’ I reminded my colleague today that the time period between March and Spring Break is filled with 5 straight full weeks of school barring inclement weather/school cancellations. Everyone is tired, depleted, irritated, frustrated, annoyed, angry. Whatever word you can think feel free to add to this:) Despite how I feel, even now at this moment, I take solace in Psalm 37:7.
There may be moments when things appear, feel, or are out of control, when students seem to, or do have the upper hand, but I will come through it as pure gold!
May God bless you and help you to manage your feelings and maintain self-control as you strive to thrive in your role as an educator.