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We are more than aware that there are no absolute solutions to the choices
made by misbehaving kids. In that light, as teachers, our job is not to
solve problems but to rise to the challenge. These kids, (no matter the
age, grade, academic ability, economic standing, character, etc.), they
are magic. They are wonder. And despite the headaches they may cause and
the choices they might make, they are worthy of all the love and attention
we can give. In the midst of distractions and other unwanted behavior, we
can forget this.
No one wants to deal with a problem but how can we ignore a challenge to
work some magic of our own. We are, after all, probably some of the most
creative folks around. Our responsibility then, as I see it, is two-fold.
First, we should be building strong relationships with our students.
Never in my years of working with kids has this failed me. I have had to
deal with my share of misbehavior, but it is minimal compared to what I
might have dealt with if those relationships hadn't been there. Second,
we should be directing the energy of misbehavior into something worth
while. We, the royalty of divergent thinking, should develop an enormous
"bag of tricks" to deal with these "challenges."
The things we want as teachers don't always jive with what the kids want.
I would argue that if we seek to understand what they want and find
creative ways to accomodate or delay those wants, while at the same time
working to get what we want, in the end, things will work out for the
"But I have other kids to deal with and there's so little time." What
other excuses can we come up with? It doesn't matter because our
responsibilities don't change. Effective classroom management is a hard
earned skill. Kudos to those of you who continue to evaluate and look for
more effective ways to deal with misbehavior. Apart from some extreme
cases, we are (should be) very equiped to handle things with a firm voice
and loving heart.
To each of you who struggles with misbehaving kids, keep things in
perspective. Build relationships so you can encourage kids instead of
control them. Relax and rise to the challenge with the interests of the
kids at heart. It will benefit teacher and child alike.
Sound too Utopian? It may be. But since our jobs involve more than
giving kids information, it seems to me that attitude and perspective
count as much as anything when we want to create success for and in our