- Frederick Douglass: “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” - July 4, 2021
- President Biden Pushes For Teachers To Get Their COVID Vaccine Dose By March - March 2, 2021
- We’re Just People Who Don’t Want To Be Killed! A Student Reflection About Insurrection - January 26, 2021
- Betsy DeVos Resigns: Most Teachers Say Good Riddance - January 8, 2021
- Class Divide in Emergency Learning: A Crisis Overseas - September 10, 2020
- Practicing Self-Care in the Midst of Chaos - August 31, 2020
- Do the Work: Equity Symposium for Teachers - August 23, 2020
- Universities Collaborate on the Biggest Experiment in Higher Ed: Reopening - August 3, 2020
- The Day of Teacher Self-Care is Happening August 1, 2020 - July 21, 2020
- Do the Work: A Conversation Around Anti-Racist Teaching in K-12 Schools - June 14, 2020
4. Established professional relationships are the key to correcting "bad" behavior. Throughout my thirteen years in the classroom, I've had the distinct pleasure of forming relationships with awesome students. Through my interactions with them in the classroom, they've taught me more than I ever learned in my Master's program in Education. However, when I first started teaching I discounted the power of relationships with students and for the first two years in the classroom, I suffered for it. With me starting teaching right out of college, I initially felt like the best way for me to manage my classroom was to stay far away from the students.
I avoided answering innocent questions from my students about my personal life because I wanted to be viewed as a professional. The problem was that kids could not identify with me. Sure I looked like them, but they did not think that I could identify to the life they lived. This all changed when I helped mentor a student whose mother died. While I was working with the student and her feelings that come with a parent dying, I found myself opening up more about my life. Once the kids saw me becoming more human, the more they began to see that maybe I was "okay".
The relationships that I have formed with students has allowed me to diffuse situations that could be potentially violent or heartbreaking for students. Many times even when my students are having a difficult day, they'll open up to me due to the relationship I have with them. One year at my school we had a student who was constantly being put out of her house by her parent who was going through financial difficulties. This student acted out in everybody's class, but in my class, she was much calmer because she had shared with me what was going on at home. This relationship with her allowed me to go to her other teachers and advocate for her during those difficult days.
Being a teacher is hard and managing a class can be even harder. However, using these strategies has helped me have a structure among the chaos in the classroom. Now, what ideas do you have for classroom management?
To learn more about my time in education, be sure to check out my new book, Behind the Desk: How I Survived My First Ten Years in the Classroom due out September 15th, 2013.