This is an article in the Total Teacher Transformation series. Click here for a complete table of contents.
As we’re going through the transformation, one of the key things to remember is that you must remain respectful to your students. As I’ve written before, classroom control is essential. Some of us have a naturally abrasive personality, and so when we begin to re-assume control, politeness tends to go out the window.
Don’t take things personally
The thing to remember is that even our worst behaved students actually have a genuine reason for doing the things that they are doing. Most misbehaviors are not personal attacks. They are simply misbehaviors for the sake of themselves.
One of my mentors once told me a story:
In his first year of teaching, he was getting upset with his middle school students. They wouldn’t do what he was asking them to do, and they kept making a lot of noise and being generally unfocused. He told them, “You’re acting like a bunch of 12-year-olds!”
One of the students quietly raised his hand and said, “I am 12.”
The point is that 12-year-olds actually act like they’re 12. Think back to when you were the same age as your students. You may have messed with a certain teacher just because you liked to see her reactions or watch him lose control. But it generally wasn’t personal. If you remember your basic manners, you will be have much better repoir with the students.
Remain respectful all day. Throughout the day. Be polite, use students’ names, treat them as if they are customers in a store.