Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #161
SEE IT COMING
Are kids very often like their parents? When you have to meet with the parent of a particularly difficult kid, and if you have not yet met that parent, envision your meeting going exactly the way it would if you had to have the meeting with the difficult kid himself. Think about all of the skills you would have to use. However, go in with a positive attitude. This will allow you to be as prepared as possible for what may be a very difficult conversation.
Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #162
TRADE SEATS WITH A STUDENT
Find a student who is doing what she should be doing and ask if you can sit at her desk while she sits at yours. If they ask why, just say that you wanted a change of scenery. You can either teach from that spot, or tell everyone that you are going to practice being a kid for a bit. This reinforces positive behavior, builds your relationship with your class, gives the students more ownership in the classroom, breaks up the monotony of the day, and allows you to monitor from a different point of view. This intervention can be especially effective if you pick a student to trade seats with who is exhibiting positive behaviors while sitting next to a student who is exhibiting a negative behavior.
Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #163
TAKE CLASS-WIDE MENTAL HEALTH BREAKS…AND BE READY TO END THEM IMMEDIATELY
When things are going well in your classroom and you feel like your students may need to take a break, take your students outside and join them in laying down on the grass. Tell them to breathe deeply, or try to go to sleep, or sing a song to themselves, or to stretch…whatever helps them to relax. Just use two or three minutes, or stop as soon as someone exhibits a negative behavior, whatever you deem that to be. In that case, immediately become sad and move your students back to the classroom. This will train your kids to exhibit the behaviors that will allow them to make these mini-vacations actual breaks for themselves and you.
Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #164
THROW OUT RED HERRINGS
It is helpful for students to not have any idea why you are doing what you are doing. Kids are less apt to argue about your methods when a great number of your methods don’t make any sense to them. Many interventions that you can use seem nonsensical to kids but are effective in eliciting positive behaviors. You can really throw a wrench into your students’ perception by randomly asking kids to do things. Ask two students to sit on the carpet for 60 seconds and play pat-a-cake. Ask a student to reach through the window to pick a flower. Ask a student to lay down on the floor and silently count to 100. These give kids breaks and makes students think that their teacher is crazy, making it less likely that the students will mess with them. Hint: make sure that you only ask kids who are exhibiting positive behaviors to do these things, and if someone asks why, just use the same response every time, so you don’t have to think too much. I like to say, “Because of the rabbits.”
Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #165
BASK IN THE GLORY OF NOT GETTING STUFF DONE
I’m going to let the cat out of the bag: it is not possible for teachers to get everything done that they are supposed to get done. SLO’s, RESA, RIMPs, lesson plans, conferences, preparing classrooms, maintaining classrooms, grading, testing, benchmarking, and I feel like I’m forgetting something… oh, yeah, teaching.
The list of stuff is nearly infinite. Teachers are made to do a list of things by politicians and quasi-educators in state capitals, many of whom wanted those jobs because they couldn’t do all of these things either. From experience, I can tell you that it is impossible to do all of this, or at least do it well. If you have a choice between turning stuff in late or incomplete and losing your mind, just remember, your sanity is more important than making sure your RIMPs are perfect.