9/05/2013

30 Goals Challenge for Educators: Great Teachers - Great Educators (which is actually not a goal itself, I just made it up!)

When it comes to Classroom Management, the first idea that crosses my mind is what I experienced with my students during the last days. Fortunately or maybe not to others, things have been going on smoothly for me lately, to be honest, it has almost always been like that, even though I have been teaching High School or Secondary school students for more than twenty-five years. I cannot tell if it is me, the way I look, the way I get dressed, my height, my hair, my...voice, my tone, sometimes I feel I work for Monsters Inc. I am not a "scarer", I think to myself, I do not mean to "scare" children, but the moment I step into the classroom, I can feel it, there are some vibes, good ones, at least for me, that make students, sit down, be quiet and some of them stand up and wait for me to greet them!. There is this Rambo attitude, (or I should mention some feminine action hero), like Michael Linsin cites in his blog Smart Classroom Management: "How To Have Jedi-Like Classroom Management Powers" so I thought: this is exactly what I have been doing all my life!. I obviously have to ask for silence or attention from time to time, but generally my groups do focus on what we do and follow instructions and directions pretty well. Michael Linsin talks about those teachers who ...have a certain presence about them, a certain unmistakable quality or vibe that reverberates from one student to the next, signaling that business is no longer usual.
Some years ago, I had to battle in one of my classes, though. There was a strange feeling of dissatisfaction and almost the whole class turned against me for I was failing one student, who really deserved to fail, to make things clearer, she failed because she wanted to and she blamed me. Those last days before the end of that term were tough and there were moments I felt like I did not want to go to class anymore. All of a sudden, one by one, my students began to smile back to me again. We had so much fun together, singing and dancing, clapping, group projects, games and great performances through role-play, lots of laughter and enjoyment. Was that a miracle, may be yes may be not, that student apologized to me in front of the class and from that day on, all went back to normal.

When I say enjoyment, and I mean it when I use some silly examples like the names of cartoon characters, songs or situations,  I go back to what I had read in Michael Linsin´s blog once again where he says:
"Creating a classroom your students look forward to isn’t difficult.
It is simply an attitude, a spirit, and a cultivation of enjoyment. It’s finding humor in the everyday and laughter for laughter’s sake. It’s the relationships, the shared moments of discovery, and the sheer pleasure of teaching and learning something interesting. It’s in your smile. It’s in your tone of voice. It’s in your actions and movements, your body language, and your commitment to creating a culture of appreciation—starting with you and pinballing around the room and back again, to and from every student in your class. It is your enthusiasm for teaching. Not the job of teaching, mind you, and not the idea of teaching, but the real heart of the matter, the imparting of knowledge, the simple rewards of showing your students something they haven’t experienced before."
What I just quoted above takes me back to my spontaneous slide presentation "Why I Teach" http://www.slideshare.net/fabianacasella18/why-i-teach-by-fabiana-lcasella-2013,which was actually well-received in social media and my among my incredible PLN. 




Also, those words take me to what Dr Nellie Deutsch wrote on her blog about Great Teachers, those who had influenced or inspired us. Unfortunately, there were not many teachers in my Primary years that influenced me much: on the contrary they showed me exactly what I did not want to be!. Dr Deutsch is going to talk to Rafe Esquith who says "Good teachers are becoming an endangered species..." and to tell you the truth I do not want to be an extinct educator. Undoubtedly, I have a mission in life and that is to be an everlasting learner and passionate teacher, one of those Michael Linsin´s exemplifies as:
"...a quiet cadre of teachers who can take over any classroom—out-of-control, disrespectful, or otherwise—and get the students under control, quiet, and working within minutes"
I still want to be one of those teachers who:
-Takes full responsibility
-Has unshakeable confidence
-Believes in her students
-Knows her students will behave
WHY?, as Larry Ferlazzo posted on his blog  

A Little Respect Can Go A Long Way In The Classroom

I think of my students as if they were my own son or daughter, I usually address them in a way thinking what may hurt my son´s feelings, or make him sad, get irritated, make him happy or make him laugh. And that is what I consider RESPECT, treat the other as if he or she were your own. Those magic words taught in Pre-K do work, they are really effective. I can assure you, children DO realize, they DO notice immediately who likes them or who does not...and as late, amazing Rita Pierson said at one of her TedTalks: "children do not learn from the teacher who do not like or do not like them". Absolutely true.
Who do I owe all my reflective thoughts? To Shelly Terrell and Sylvia Guinan.