Some great advices!
Control your emotional brainLet’s go over a few key points that were discussed in the audio seminar you have just listened to…
What strategies can we use to teach students how to manage their raw emotions and enable them to access their rational brain?
Role model for emotional controlShow your students how you calm your emotional brain. Make it explicit to them that you count to ten calmly, try to control your breathing, take a step back, walk outside or repeat a mantra to yourself. Map these on the wall or share them with the students you are working with. Then they get an insight into how successful learners manage their own behaviour.
Explain your frustrations assertively“I walked away from the situation because I was feeling cross. I gave myself time to think and work out what I was going to say to you. Now we need to have a polite conversation about…”
Examine some of your most basic routinesAt the end of instructions, instead of asking if everyone understands and are there any questions, try, “Please ask questions now if there is anything I haven’t explained properly.” This makes it easier for students to ask for clarification without feeling or being made to feel foolish.
Ask yourself if there is an area in your room where children can see the strategies mapped out?
Other strategies we can use to control our emotions and model behaviour for children
Uh! It's not easy to make this list, but I'll try.
I've always been more interested in WHY rather than to HOW. The list of steps to do something can always be made in a short time, but WHY always brings more questions. Having said that, I'd make myself more durable patience wise. Not everyone's mind makes connections the way my mind does and at times I grow impatient. Good thing is that when faced with WHY I often find it a challenge that I can't resist.
Having a new class few years ago, I noticed a student that wouldn't write, he'd just look around. It wasn't that he was causing trouble or disrupt the teaching. He'd just sit quietly and often even look at his notebook, with a pencil in one hand and eraser in the other. I'd call out his name and point out that I expected him to write the notes in his notebook. He'd look in his notebook, touch the tip of his pencil, but still wouldn't write a single word. Now, this was an 11 years old boy, he'd been in classrooms since he was 6, he had to know the alphabet. And he did. I asked his former teacher about him and I got the typical "He's just lazy" answer. But somehow I didn't believe that. There had to be more to it and I set up my mind to find out what.
Few days later I had organized a reading lesson. But instead of students reading the text to themselves, I had them reading out loud to the class. This boy was so flustered he was reading as if he just learned how to - slowly and with lots of mistakes. I realized he was trying to guess the words. Other students were patient at the beginning, but after a minute, they started correcting him, asking him to hurry up. I was a bit confused. I asked him if he were supposed to wear glasses and he didn't say anything. Then I said to look me up after classes and the lesson continued.
After classes that day, he was patiently waiting for me. As we entered the classroom, I told him that there was nothing to be afraid of, that we were just going to talk. I found out that he was really good with clay, play doh etc. So I suggested a simple trade: I'd teach him to read better if he taught me how to make earrings out of FIMO and made an appointment for next week. But, I also told him that I need his parents' permission, so it would be nice one of his parents could come to school and meet me.
Next week his mother came and I asked her almost the same questions as I did her son. She was completely on the defensive saying his teachers hated him, they didn't care about her child, but as I pointed out that I asked for her not to tell her that her son was lazy, but to praise him about what he's teaching me, she went speechless. I told her about the trade her son and I were talking about and decided to meet in one month time. Him and I practiced working with play doh and reading and writing in turns and after few weeks, he started reading in front of the class. They were impressed and he was about to burst with pride.
It's never easy to face new class and even more frighting to face a group of students with tricky behavior. Here's my chaotic lesson...
As a young teacher I entered new class few weeks into the second semester. It was a new class consisted of mostly behaviorally tricky students. They thought they were smarter than what the education could give them and thus disrupted every lesson they had in their original classes. Now, I've known myself pretty well - I'm tough. Or so I thought. As I entered the classroom, there was noise and chatter. I tried to introduce myself, there was noise and chatter. I wrote my name and subject on the blackboard and there was noise and chatter. So, I did the only thing I could think of at the time. I climbed on the chair, plugged my ears and screamed, LOUD. It sounded as if I was completely crazy. But it got their attention and they stopped talking. There was scary silence. Still standing on the chair, in calm voice (or I think it was calm), I introduced myself and recited the rules I expected them to follow.
I don't really remember what I told them at that moment, but few weeks later they brought me a paper banner with my classroom motto:
YOU CAN'T MAKE ME CRAZY, I ALREADY AM.
Apparently it was one of the things I said to them.
There were 28 students in that class and we still keep in touch.