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The hardest thing I had to learn was to get out of the mindset of "them vs. me".
When I started thinkin' us-us, it got progressively better....but it took a
couple of years or three to get there for me.
I remember the first year at this particular school (9 yrs. ago) when one
of my classes gave me a trial by fire. I had one student sitting in my dark
closet, one sitting just outside one door and another one sitting outside
the other door. The rest of the class was swinging off the light fixtures.
I went home and cried, had a stiff drink, and cried some more. The
principal really helped. He told me to give out candybars for good
behavior...yeah, right. We all came to a mutual understanding but they
always "knew" they had gotten me. That's all they really want at this age.
Tip...don't let them know when they get you really angry or frustrated.
If anyone tells you kids love discipline, they're bonkers. However, kids
respect order...both how you keep your room in order and how you manage
your class. If you're timid, you're in the WRONG place. Have a workable
system for everything...from how you hand out supplies, how they're stored
in the classroom, to cleanup and storing artwork. Think everything out
beforehand. The lesson plan is really the icing on the cake. Everything
else needs to be in place.
Try never to correct a yoyo in front of others. Meet with them just outside
the door as an individual. They can't play to the crowd and you're got
their undivided attention. Put everything back in "their court". Let them
make the decision if they're going to return to your class to work or sit
apart from the others and just observe...or visit Mr. Principal. Sometimes
they just open their mouths at this age without thinkin'. 9 times out of 10
they just goofed up and they're contrite one-on-one.
If you HAVE to correct someone in class, be dead serious but break out into
a smile right after you yell and scream. It puts them off guard, they think
you're cool, everyone wins.
Thanks to someone on this list, I now have a big sign taped right on the
front of my desk that says..."If the teacher ain't happy, ain't nobody
happy". This is the only "rule" I have posted in my room. It "hits" just
about everything I need to say.
I don't post rules. The kids are not dumb. They know what's appropriate and
what's not. They also know they will deal with consequences when the time
arises. Sometimes when we have faculty meetings in other teachers' rooms, I
look around the walls and much of what I see is..."Students may
not....(chew gum, talk with their neighbor, blow bubbles, blah,
blah....fill in the blank here). It's like all this negative stuff seeping
into their eyeballs and bouncin' off the brain. Sometimes it's downright
In case you're wondering, I'm not a pollyanna. I'm strict. BUT....you can
do it in a fun atmosphere. AND...I know not all of my students will love or
like me either. I don't worry about that anymore. They're mid. school
people...they're not SUPPOSE to like us! Toodles..............
Bunki Kramer - Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Rd., Danville, California 94526