Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tips #171-175

Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #171

BE BORING

Students want to see emotion. That is why the students who can manipulate their teachers into being angry become popular and those behaviors get reinforced by their teachers and their classmates.

Try flipping the script. Use the skills, strategies, and procedures that I teach to be very boring and unemotional when dealing with discipline, and save your enthusiasm and energy for teaching content. Scream, yell, jump around, and act crazy. Show emotion while you teach and be boring when dealing with discipline and your students will realize that the best way to get an exciting teacher is to sit quietly and look at you!

 

Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #172

STRETCH THE CLASSROOM

When a student is answering a question, presenting something, or speaking to you and to the class, move away from that student and towards other students who are far away from the speaker who may not be paying attention, may at some point get off task, or may currently not be listening. When possible, don’t wait for negative behaviors to happen before doing this. Prevention is the key word here. Now when you speak to or about what the student has said, something magical will happen in the area between you and the speaker: negative behaviors will tend to be neutralized. You have “stretched” the area of your focus from just the area around the speaker to now being the area between you and the speaker!

 

Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #173

ASSUME THAT EVERY ONE OF YOUR STUDENTS EXPERIENCED TRAUMA LAST NIGHT

When greeting your students at the door, make an assumption that every one of them suffered some kind of severe abuse, neglect, or trauma since you saw them last. Of course, this will not be true of every one of your students, but it will probably be true for many, or at least one of your students. This way, you will never miss out on the perhaps life or death moment to show them that an adult was there to care for them when they needed it the most. AND you will always be starting your day off in the best way possible with all of your students every day!

 

Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #174

ASK QUESTIONS

Making demands of kids (sit down, be quiet, hurry up) stimulates resistance since people don’t like to be bossed around, and kids are usually told what to do hundreds of times a day. Try just replacing these demands with just two questions:

1) Where should you be?
2) What should you do now?

Let’s face it: kids know the answers to these questions. Using them forces kids to do more thinking, it doesn’t insult their intelligence, and it keeps your blood pressure low.

 

Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #175

DON’T LECTURE STUDENTS ABOUT THEIR GRADES

Using any combination of lectures, threats and anger with kids when they get bad grades is hurtful and is a HUGE waste of time. Take it from me: a smart kid who received terrible grades from grade 3 through his senior year.

Most– not all, but most–teachers liked school: witness their decision to stay in school for an extra 30 years. They have a hard time understanding the thought process of someone like me who HATED school, who flirted with suspensions, spent lots of time in principals’ offices, and pretty much refused to do any work.

Most teachers don’t understand that if they lecture kids with a sometimes unhealthy need for control about their bad grades, and then that kid’s grades improve, then that kid feels that the teacher now owns that kid’s success. People like me can’t stand that thought: that they have been successful because they have been coerced by someone else. Feeling this lack of ownership over their own success, kids like me will intentionally underperform in order to not “lose,” or give teachers the control of being successful in what feels to my mind as unfair coercion.

When kids underperform, sincere empathy is the answer. “Oh, man. I’m here if you want help.” Or “Ugh. This can’t feel good. I’m here if you need me.”