This is a cautionary tale for new teachers:
I wish I had the 37 years in my classroom back. Every time a kid crossed me, whether I showed it or not, part of me, a slice of my internal fabric, maybe 10%, was afraid.
I didn’t want to make the kid angry and cause a scene. The result was that a rude kid caused anxiety in me and my power was lessened and small levels of rudeness came back to me and it did more to screw up my instruction than I think, as I see it in retrospect.
Only 10% of my teaching fabric had the stain of fear in it, and yet that was enough to allow the rest the class to see that I was nervous. Now I am fully grasping that my teaching was more nervous for all those years than it should have been. How should my teaching have been?
I should have showed more dispassionate power. We must never show meanness in our teaching, but we can find more dispassionate power. We need to be able to know in the instant when we are wronged and say it. Right away. Say it right away.
I should have acted from my core, from that point in my stomach region on my central meridian, where I let the kid know that I was not angry in anyway (sometimes we don’t act with rude kids because we are afraid of our own anger) but that the kid was going to do what I said in no uncertain visible terms or get a consequence that I would enforce. I could have done that with no meanness or fear, but I didn’t. I did up to 90%, but the kid and the rest of the class saw the fearful 10% and that screwed me more than I thought.
I say that all of us reading here on the PLC for teaching tips stop and consider this article that is directed at new teachers who may be like me and maybe you can avoid a full 37 years of that 10% fear I talk about above.
I wish I could have those years back. Now I know that no person in the world, especially no student in my classroom, can be anything but respectful to me. All the time. I know now that I must respond with an immediate response in all cases of even the slightest rudeness.
If there is a rude kid in my class and they are not following the rules and I don’t AT LEAST call a parent and follow up with a counselor to GET THE KID OUT OF MY CLASS if need be BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE, then I am just stupid. I need to point to the rules and enforce them at 100%, from my core, or I am just stupid.