‘Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.’ – Saint Francis de Sales
Reminded from a conversation had Monday, reflecting back on my experience during the 2010-2011 school year when I was enlightened with the thought of not raising my voice, or yelling, as a means to manage student misconduct, because if they are currently not listening to me yelling will not make them listen; they’re already ignoring me. It was within that enlightenment I started communicating with individual students my understanding, ‘I only know of 2 places where yelling is an acceptable form of communication, prison and the armed forces. I refuse to yell at you to communicate with you and you should not train yourself to only respond to someone yelling at you just to get you to respond or comply.’
This moment was more about my growth and development as a professional educator than it was about student misconduct, because there was a time when yelling was one of my main tools for classroom management. By my third year as an educator I was yelling, breaking yard sticks, and sadly you could hear me at the end of the hallway with the student standing right next to me. Not something I am proud of and would readily admit when conducting classroom management workshops for teachers, because I wanted them to understand how far off I was and how helpful Cooperative Discipline was in enabling me to make better choices in choosing how to respond to power behavior and student misconduct. At the end of that third year, I had to be willing to admit I needed help in order for me to arrive at the enlightenment in 2010-2011, in an environment that was full of power behavior demonstrated. I would always say, during my time in that school community that 1 day’s stress was a week’s worth in a ‘normal’ school community.
This was also my first year returning to the classroom after 10 years serving outside of the classroom, so feeling like Rip Van Winkle, I was disillusioned about the ‘reality’ of what had become of some classroom environments, because nothing I experienced my first 10 years teaching had prepared me for what I faced that one school year! Although I was warned and despite what I was told, nothing could have prepared me for what I observed and encountered. Who I had become as a professional and a Christian would be put to the test, but I was up for the challenge.
May the God of all grace richly bless you and help you to develop the necessary mental stamina and internal resolve necessary to be effective and productive in your role as an educator to inspire learning and influence a greater demonstration of student self-efficacy.
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