You are tired, the classroom is hot and stuffy, the lesson you had planned got cut short by a surprise fire drill, and instead of happy voices, all you hear are grouchy, grumpy ones. Your patience is shot. It is one of those days. We all have them. And does it not seem that on those days behavior management is even more of a challenge? Have you ever wondered why? Aside from the hot, stuffy classroom and the surprise fire drill, what has turned everyone into a cranky mass of reluctant learners?
Your Attitude Can Make or Break Your Behavior Management
Now, take a deep breath, let the interrupted lesson plan go, and, for a moment, smile at your students. Just sit at the front of the room and smile. Fake it if you have to at first, but smile. Guess what will happen? Pretty soon, they will start to watch you and wonder what is making you smile. And then, when you look each one in the eye and smile directly at them, they will smile back.
“I’m happy you’re my students this year.”
“Even on grumpy days, you make me smile by being you.”
“You are the best class I’ve ever had.”
Positive words, a cheerful smile, and a sense of calm can quickly turn your not-so-great day into one that is manageable and, hopefully, happy. It all starts with you. You, as the teacher, are the one who sets the tone of the class each and every day. When you feel like behavior management is a struggle, take a look at how you are feeling and reacting. Are you a tad bit grouchy or just not happy? Chances are your students will reflect that during the day.
True, not all behavior management issues can be solved with a smile and a cheerful word, but when you have developed a sense of community and responsibility in the class, it is important to leave your problems at the door. Your students want to please you, they want to feel a part of the class community, they want to be praised, and they take their cues from you. Set-up clear expectations and rules from the first moment students step into the classroom, but remember that attitude plays a big part in daily behaviors.
Don’t believe me? Try it. The next time you are having a particularly rough day, stop and smile at your class. Turn on happy, feel-good music for 2 minutes and breathe. Do a yoga pose and help your students release the tension and stress they have been feeling all day too. Your day may not be completely better, but it will give you enough time to make it to the last bell.
How do you keep your mood upbeat and positive for your students when you have the grouchy-grumpies? Share your tips with us below or on the Really Good Teachers Forums!