Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip Number 141
CONTROL THE PENCILS
While allowing kids to get up and get sharpened pencils by trading theirs in can seem like a good idea, doing so allows for lots of leisurely walking around, causes more management problems than it solves, and wastes an opportunity to train your students to be polite. Only give sharpened pencils to kids who trade in dull ones AND who say “please.” When and if they pass part one of the politeness test, hand the pencil to them, but only release your grip when they say “thank you.” Smile throughout.
Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip Number 142
ASK FOR TWO KINDS OF RESPONSES
As teachers, we can be pretty unclear about whether we want one person’s response or a choral response from everyone. The best way to avoid confusion is to preface a request for a response with “Raise your hand if you can tell me…” When you want a choral response from anyone who thinks they know the answer, you can say “Everyone” after the question has been asked. For example:
“Raise your hand if you can tell me who invented peanut butter.”
“The inventor of peanut butter was named… everyone?”
Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip Number 143
TRUST BUT VERIFY… AND THEN BE DISAPPOINTED
Let kids do cool things, monitor appropriately, and take those things away with empathy if they don’t do those things to your satisfaction. For instance, let a fourth grader read on a beanbag during silent reading, but make sure you keep an especially close eye on him and when he talks when he isn’t supposed to, empathetically ask him to sit back at his desk and perhaps try reading at the beanbag tomorrow.
Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip Number 144
DON’T STICK UP FOR OTHER TEACHERS FOR NO REASON
The other teachers in your building may not be able to always act in a dignified or kind way. Your students may come to you with complaints about these teachers. While we should attempt to not outwardly criticize the actions of another teacher, especially when we probably aren’t getting the whole story, it is important to not simply assume that the story is untrue, either. You can get information from another teacher and then perhaps follow up with your students. “I’m really sorry that that happened!” can help your relationship with your students better than, “I know no teacher in this school would ever do something like that.”
Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip Number 145
SET LIMITS WITH OTHER TEACHERS
It makes a difficult job even more difficult when you are around educators who say terrible things about kids. Now I’m not talking about saying realistic things about kids. For instance, saying that certain kids are going to end up in prison if they don’t become conditioned to exhibit better behaviors is not a terrible thing to say; in fact it is necessary to correctly diagnose the situation before setting out to solve the problem. However, teachers who describe kids as worthless or imply that kids somehow are undeserving of education can really hurt your morale. When this happens in the hallway or in a teachers’ lounge, the one-liner, “I can be around teachers who say positive things about kids” followed by removing oneself sets a firm limit with mean teachers.