Reflecting on the past half-term, I have been thinking about my persona as a teacher, and my behaviour management techniques.
In my second year I am starting to show more of my character to my students. More singing, silly dances, wall-sits, hammock photos, and bad jokes. I am more comfortable (rather than the artifical “I just do maths” persona of last year), and the students start to see a human being rather than a robot. I am loving it, but must make sure not to go too far, I guess.
Students often tell me that they just wish I would shout. “It is what I am used to, I need it to stay focussed”. At times, I do doubt my attempts to stay calm and model the lack of anger that I would like the students to learn. I am nervous of students seeing weakness or a pushover teacher – “You just go and get another teacher to sort us out when you can’t cope” a few said last week.
I asked Jess for help with this, who reassured me that, in the long run, my style will work. It is perhaps more difficult and draining than going in with guns blazing, but it is the right way, at least for my personality. Here are some things for me to remember:
- Positivity – so far at least one student has started copying Mr Judge’s happy dance.
- Kindness and Calmness – take time to empatise with students, before leaping to conclusions.
- Consistency and Transparency – to clearly tell students why I am giving sanctions/praise. This is perhaps a more important use of my time than teaching maths?
- Following up – with sanctions, conversations, parents, coaches
Finally, a hilarious and valuable reflection from a student who in the lesson was furious with me:
I also want to apologise for how in the last half hour I started to mess about with others and not focusing on my work and I also want to apologise for calling maths a wasteman lesson even though maths is a great lesson and can help me in the future.