How to Be Calm When Everything Kids Do Drives You Crazy

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am a nagging, mean teacher. At least that is how I feel most days. I arrive every day thinking to myself “OK, I’m going to be nice today”. I say it to myself during the morning, and it’s almost comical; literally two seconds later a kid does something and I either yell or talk through my gritted teeth or I’ll use sarcasm or some other useless idea. I know none of it works, but I just have these knee-jerk reactions. I’m in the middle of my first year of teaching and I’m starting to think that I have wasted the last five years of my life. Ugh, I want to stop reacting with anger, but how?

-Eva, Pittsburgh, PA

Read More


How to Get Your Students Quiet During Silent Sustained Reading

Dear Kid Whisperer,
I’m a first grade teacher and I have a question about small group time. Every year during reading group time (while I’m sitting with my small group) I have a hard time with voice control. I must admit that we do reading group time for an hour and so 30 minutes is independent work time, 15 minutes with me and 15 minutes on the computer. So sometimes I feel like I may be asking them to work silently for too long. However, what are some tips and tricks that can help them either work silently or at least quietly during this time so I’m not nagging them about this? Thanks!

– Natalie, Meridian, Idaho

Read More


How to Make Your Student Nametags Last All Year Long

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have a kind of silly question. Your followers who are not teachers will probably think it’s really dumb. I teach 2nd Grade and every year I take a lot of time to get nice nametags and neatly adhere the nametags to their desks with clear contact paper. Invariably, three weeks into the school year, most of the nametags have been ripped up or picked at so much that it just looks terrible. In the past, I have replaced them, but that becomes time consuming. Plus, I know I don’t want the students to think they can ruin things and that I will clean up after them. Is there anything that I can do to stop them from destroying their nametags?

-DJ, Kansas City, Missouri

Read More


How to Get Your Students Quiet So You Can Teach

Dear Kid Whisperer,
I am a third grade teacher. I have a lot of behavior issues in my class and I am looking forward to being done with the year. I feel like the most annoying issue that I have is simply that my students won’t be quiet when I have to teach. Specifically, when they are working, and I let them talk when they’re working, getting their attention and getting their eyes on me is rarely very successful. It makes me very angry and I feel helpless to do anything about it. I’ve tried screaming and yelling, I’ve tried taking away their recess. Nothing works. I am out of options. I know this year is down the drain, but I don’t want to deal with this another year. Any ideas?  -Kayla, Eugene, Oregon

Read More


How to Get Kids to Stop Arguing With Each Other

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I teach 4th grade and my students are mostly well-behaved. I have a group of three students who sit next to each other who are constantly arguing about every little thing. We do a lot of cooperative learning and we play a lot of games. I feel like I spend half of my day refereeing their drama. Should I move them or what? Please advise. Peggy, Las Vegas NV

Read More


How to Make Sure Your Class is Silent and Well-Behaved in the Hallway

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am a fourth grade classroom teacher. The behavior of my students in my classroom isn’t great, but the behaviors in the hall are really terrible. No matter how many times I tell them what the rules are, and no matter how many times I warn them that they will get in trouble if they act out, they continually talk, bump and push each other while in line. They fight over getting drinks from the water fountain as we walk by it even though I have told them a thousand times that they are not to get drinks when we are walking through the hallway. The newest thing is for my boys to jump up and smack the tops of the doorways as we go under them. Taking them through the hallway is embarrassing. I know that part of this is my fault. What can I do? –Tara, Columbia, SC

Read More


How to Set Limits With Only One Rule

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have a very challenging eight year old boy. My problems with him are too numerous to mention, but my question is about rules. I have rules posted on our refrigerator that I got from a parenting magazine. His teacher has rules that she says work for her and have worked for years. My son argues with me that rules are different and that’s it’s not fair. I know that I can’t have the teacher change her rules, so should I change mine? –   Patty, Dayton, Ohio

Read More


How to Teach Kids to be Responsible For Their Own Work

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am a first year teacher teaching fifth grade language arts and social studies and I have a problem. There is no set policy at my school about how to handle late homework. I have been just accepting it and not counting off, but I feel like that isn’t the best thing to do. My students are terrible about turning in their work. I feel like it may be my fault. Help.   -Chelsey, Detroit

Read More