Monday, August 16, 2010


This is my 100th post.  In honor of it, I'm asking you to click the "follow" button and become a follower of my blog if you aren't already.  Simple things thrill my heart ;)

And what better space to recognize my hopes for the upcoming year?  One hundred normally sounds extremely accomplished; I'm not.  But I thought it might be sort of nice to set a visible foundation for myself for the months to come.

As a teacher, I face stress.  I see it in the form of deadlines, requisition forms, expectations (from local and state governments), difficult students and even more difficult parents.  The easiest way to head stress off at the pass?  Develop a clear plan.  Will it eliminate ALL the stress?  Well, if you don't know how to answer, we aren't living on the same planet.

1.  Don't yell.  No one wants to hear someone yell, and I can't think of any person who really responds to yelling.  Anything you can say can be said in a normal voice.

2.  Set the rules and follow them consistently.  It's one of the only ways to maintain a sense of fairness in the classroom.  However, realize that those rules will sometimes require review for exceptional circumstances.  Make every effort to help students understand their responsibilities in those exceptional circumstances.

3.  Don't take responsibility for things that aren't yours.  Students will fail to hand in assignments.  They won't always pass tests.  Sometimes they forget things you've taught them.  Sometimes they act like houligans.  Treat the behavior accordingly and then let it go.  You can't keep them from messing up from time to time.

4.  Don't enable students.  Realize that the lessons best learned are the ones learned from experience.  People don't gain any experience when someone constantly cleans up the mess they made.  Also make it clear that failure to plan doesn't constitute an emergency on the part of the people who don't fail to plan.

5.  Listen.  Like your students, you will make mistakes.  Take responsibility for what you've done and make amends.  Also know that some of the greatest resources at your disposal are different view points.  Don't shut them out (parents, students, etc.)

6.  Keep the lines of communication open.  Students and parents might be intimidated to approach teachers in order to discuss concerns.  Automatically becoming defensive will do nothing for your conversation.  Find a way to make others comfortable so that the conversation doesn't stop.  And then, refer to number 5.

7.  Your job never was to teach them what to think.  They have minds.  Don't numb them.  Maybe they do have to sit in your classroom 5 days a week, but that doesn't mean it should be a wretched existance.  Get them to taste, touch, see, smell and hear the things around them.  Teach them how to think and process--preferably with a variety of sources.  That is what makes an education useful.

8.  Understand that you may be the only person who cares anything about that student.  Don't take that position lightly.

9.  Realize that sometimes people go through things that have nothing to do with work or school.  Many of them try very hard to keep those things out of the public eye.  But some hurts run deep, and emotions are sometimes visible.  It never hurts to keep those things in mind when dealing with another human being.

10.  Remember that Christ knew you, and redeemed you anyway. 

Those are my notes to myself.  Have anything to add?  Leave it in the comments, or feel free to comment on my thoughts. 

Oh, and welcome back to school.

1 comment:

Julie Lewis said...

I agree with every one on your points here. Number 8 is so true. Even high school students need to know that we care about them as people, not just as a student in our classroom. It amazes me when students want to be near your desk, want to talk to you about things going on in their life or just need to know you respect them. The beauty of my job is that typically I have my kids once every year so our relationships can truly grow. By the time they're seniors, they don't need discipline - they know the rules and we get along well. I feel like a proud parent when they graduate.

Keep up the blogging - you do a great job!!