Writing my way through the school year!

Posts tagged ‘respect from students’

“Today Was One of Those Days!” Woosah!

Today was one of those days!  I had to take a deep breath, and  exhale, “Woosah.” (For those who don’t know, I got that from the movie  “Bad Boys” with Martin Lawrence and Will Smith.)  It works for me, because it stops me from saying something I have no business saying to someone else’s child!  My students were so crazy today with the level of “it’s all about me”.   All the “this is what I want to do, and who cares  what you say!” No, they didn’t actually say those words, but the body language, attitude, lips poked out, made me stop during Math.

I said,” I have to stop for a Public Service announcement.”  This is not meant for all of you, as a matter of fact, it’s not meant for most of you.” Seriously.  And yes, I know, I was not using my class time wisely, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.  I proceeded to explain to them that when they get home, they can Tweet, Facebook, text, or call each other and vent about me all they want, but while they were sitting  in our classroom, they would keep their negative  attitudes to themselves, especially since it was intefering with me teaching and them learning!”  Yes, they took me there!  I didn’t have any other problems for the remainder of the day, thank goodness!

Sometimes, they do that to you. I love them all, but sometimes I just want to shake them, and let them know, that I  have too many bodies in the room to cater to each and every one of their idiosyncrasies. Especially when it’s more than two or three of them at a time. Well, they’re 5th graders, and I know puberty is rearing its ugly head, and the hormones are beating each other up inside those little bodies.  So, I’ll just continue to take a deep breath, inhale, extend my arms to the sky, arm down, and exhale, “Woosah!”:)

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“Just” a Teacher!?

view detailsAs I prepared dinner the other night, my son and I talked. Somehow, our conversation steered to  how smart I was.  In order to prove my point, I bragged to my son how I had been in gifted programs all my life, and had even skipped a grade. 

He laughed and said, “If you’re so smart, how come you’re just a teacher?” 

 “Just a teacher?”, I thought.  I was flabbergasted! Yet, at the same time, my mind raced, questioning my chosen occupation. An occupation I had loved for 26 years. 

 He continued, “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you a doctor or a lawyer?”  Ouch! I told him, “I am that smart, but I have chosen to teach”. It brought to mind part of that horrible quote, “Those who can’t, teach.” I asked him who  he thinks taught those doctors and lawyers. 

 He responded, “Bill Gates didn’t go to college, and he’s a millionaire!”

 I answered, “But he did attend Kindergarten through 12th grade, right?” Who do you think taught him everything he knows? A teacher!” 

 We continued our conversation and I think I changed his opinion, maybe.  I have to admit, what he said stung. I went to college, I have a B.S. and a M.S., but my son thinks I’m not that smart because I’m “just” a teacher. 

Maybe this is why teachers have such a hard time getting respect.  Maybe this is why so many young teachers I’ve encountered, don’t really learn the craft, they worry about how long it will be before they “get out the classroom.”

I love teaching, I don’t want to be a doctor, lawyer, principal, etc…, I want to be a teacher, even if I’m “just” a  teacher!

“Thin Line”

The other day a fifth grade student came in with a green bracelet with the words “I Love Boobies” on his wrist. The teacher asked him to remove it, he asked her why. She explained that it was inappropriate for the class and made him remove it.  The next day, he came in with it on again, she told him to remove it. He said, “My mother called the principal and he said I could wear it.” He wore it the entire day making sure he showed off his arm as often as he could.  When the teacher went to complain to the principal, he told her that because it was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it was a thin line that he would cross by asking the child not to wear it. Needless to say, the teacher was very,very upset. This parent, and the principal, not only undermined the teacher’s authority, but also gave this child, who is already insufferable, carte blanche to go to mommy and go over his teacher’s head! Wow! A thin line?  His bracelet didn’t mention Breast Cancer Awareness, it said “boobies.” He was showing it off to the boys in his class. And the parent? Her time will come when she can no longer deal with the monster she has created! They want to tie our pay to the students, when we’re not allowed to make decisions in our own classrooms? Please!

Students Are Not Your Friends!

Repeat after me, “I am not my students’s friend”, “I am not my students’s friend.” 
The sooner teachers come to realize this, the more control they will have of their classrooms. 

Too many times, teachers worry about whether the kids will like them.  They want to be perceived as the “cool” teacher or the “most popular” teacher. Let that go! You are the adult in the classroom, they are not your peers. There has to be a line drawn somewhere. I love my students, but they are not my friends, and I let them know this from the beginning of the school year. I remember explaining to one of my classes that I was not their friend. One student said, “That’s mean!” I replied, “My friends are my peers, people I work with or hang out with, not children.” I believe they understood what I meant.

   I rarely have a student that doesn’t enjoy being in my class, not because I’m the ” cool”,  but because of the “cool” way I teach.  How do you ask students to do what you’ve asked after you have told them a story about the blind date you had last night?   When my students cross the line, I tell them, or their peers tell them.I draw a line in the air or on a desk, and say, “This is the line, this side is adult business, and this is a child’s business, stay on your side.”  Unfortunately, that line has been blurred in a lot of homes. The students are included in every conversation the parents have, and when they come to school, they expect the same relationship with you.  It amazes me when I hear students share personal information about another teacher. I share some personal events from my life, vacations, stuff about my kids, loss of a family member, etc…, but my students didn’t know a thing about my divorce when I was going through it. 

If being the “cool” or “popular” teacher is truly a concern , here are some tips that make it happen naturally.
1.  Be friendly, but don’t be their friend!

2.  Teach with excitement! ( Incorporating Web 2.0 tools really works, they aren’t even aware they’re learning)

3.  Demand respect and give respect. (Draw the line)

Do I have fun with my students? All the time! But they know where the line is between teacher and friend, and if they cross it, I help them find their way back!

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