13 Rules for Effective Communication in the Classroom #7 - Lose Control


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http://createdforlearning.blogspot.com/2014/08/13-rules-for-effective-communication-in_13.htmlWe are the adults. We’re supposed to be the mature ones in the relationship. If we expect our students to have obedient hearts and actions and keep their patient composure, then we’d better set the example. Like most things in life, they learn how to be patient or lose control from us. And maybe you remember that teacher that it was kinda funny to watch lose their patience? I wonder how many times I have moments as that teacher…
So how do we want our students to learn to deal with conflict? Do we want them to blow off the handle like we do? Do we want them to yell or be disrespectful? Probably not.
This means no yelling. None. Ever. Okay, almost ever. Unless our student is in life-or-death danger, we don’t ever need to yell. Or even raise our voice in frustration. We just want to. It seems easier. It feels like it might work. Just look around, though, at all the parents trying to control their children through yelling? Does it work? Did it work for your childhood teacher who couldn’t help but yell to quiet the class down? Sure, it might curb their behavior for a few moments, but at what cost? In my childhood memories, whenever my parents or a teacher yelled at me, anger instantly started to bubble up inside of me. That’s not what we want.
We’ve found that the opposite works wonders. Quiet. Don’t say anything. If they aren’t listening after your first one or two instructions, move to your pre-announced consequences list. Maybe it’s losing participation points for the day. Maybe you walk silently toward their desk to get a closer proximity. I’ve even written a note on a Post-It and covertly stuck it to their desk under their assignment they’re not working on.
Okay, I’ll fess up. I let myself yell at them once a year. Just once. #dontjudge About three or four months into the school year, in a moment of middle school classroom ruckus, I choose to raise my voice as loud as I can. I yell, “QUIET!!!” And you should see their faces. It’s like I just transformed into Hagrid or Haymitch or Peter van Houten. Then I say Thank You for quieting down. I point out that this is the first time they’ve heard me yell all year, isn’t it. I don’t yell because I respect them. I point to classroom Rule #2: Respect your fellow students and their right to learn. That includes me, I’m supposed to respect them too. Then I remind them of Rule #3: Respect your teacher and his future. We’re in this together. I respect you because you’re human and you deserve respect. I won’t yell again this year, but remember I’m your teacher and I’d like to enjoy my job for the next thirty years. Thank you. 
It can be hard because we’re human too. We get frustrated. We have THOSE kinds of days. Whatever we have to do to get them back in line, we ourselves have to stay in control. And we just might have to forgive them before they waltz in again tomorrow. After all, we are the adults.


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These rules are adapted with permission from Roger and Becky Tirabassi's premarital workbook for seriously dating and engaged couples - The Seriously Dating or Engaged Workbook. Roger and Becky have also co-authored a book for married couples called Little Changes Big Results for Crazy, Busy Couples. The principles in these books have changed so many areas of our life. We highly recommend them.

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