Sometimes it takes a number of seemingly unrelated experiences to make you view things differently when seen together. This is what happened to me this past week. It all started when on Thursday, I went back into the classroom during Second Nutrition Break, and I saw my teacher partner, Paula, taking some “selfies” with some students in the class.
As I watched Paula interact with the students, I was reminded of the value of “relationships,” and how taking the time to have fun with children can also show them how much we care. Not only did I have to capture these “selfie moments,” but I needed to take my own selfie with my photographer helper.
These selfie experiences made me think back to the #BIT16 conference from a few weeks ago. I am not a fan of taking selfies, but as I met up face-to-face with some different educators for the first time, I managed to get involved in a number of selfie moments. Andrew Campbell, a fellow educator in a neighbouring Board, made note of these selfie moments during Thursday’s keynote address.
Strangely enough, it was almost as though the keynote speaker, Shelly Sanchez, was reading our tweets, for within minutes of this discussion, she made note of an “epic selfie adventure.”
She started discussing “us-ies,” which not only became a big topic of discussion at the conference, but also is exactly what Paula started doing in the classroom. This makes me think about Helen‘s comment on “us-ies” in her BIT16 follow-up blog post. The “friendship power” of a photograph is really quite remarkable, and I think this holds as true for children as it does for adults.
I share all of this because I was actually thinking about these experiences today as I commented on Doug Peterson‘s blog post on classroom management. While I believe in everything that I wrote in my comment, I started to wonder about those times when even after “building relationships,” behaviour is still a problem. What do we do then?
- Do we become firm?
- Do we reiterate expectations?
- Do we consider the value in proximity?
- Do we use a reward system?
- Or do we find another way to connect? Could this be when that student needs this connection even more?
I couldn’t help but think about a strategy that an EA at my last school spoke about all the time. She said, “If you’re ever tempted to yell at a child, don’t. Instead, sing it!” Put your thoughts into music. Create your own tune. She always stood by the fact that the singing will make you feel better and will have a more positive impact on the actions of the child. I used to hear her singing with Kindergarten and Grade 8 students, and the approach never failed to work. Could a made up song help build relationships? Maybe again, it comes down to the value in being “kinder than necessary.”
When I think back to my Faculty of Education experiences, “kindness” was never discussed as a classroom management strategy. I’m wondering though, if it could be at the heart of classroom management. What do you think? As I head into another school week, I’m thinking about “challenging behaviour.” Maybe it’s time to take a few extra us-ies, sing a few more songs, share a few more laughs, and see the benefits for kids. I have my plan for the week ahead. What about you?