Hell is the classroom
Angela Maiers has raised in her post “Can We Please Get Some RESPECT?” a problem that has become so pressing lately in many schools around the world. In fact a lot of teachers complain about the disrespect they get from their students and nothing seem to help. Punishing or suspending them doesn’t work. Parents don’t care. So for some teachers “hell is the classroom.” Some blame it on television. Others contend that the youth are just trying to adapt to a new era where violence is part of their every day lives. What is sure is that teachers are suffering and feel they are helpless.
There is no magical solution
Well as Angela Maiers rightly says, there is no magical solution. But some facts need to be considered.
- Dealing with discipline issues calls for a preventive NOT a reactive approach.
- Preventive approach means that we should do our utmost to create a comfortable welcoming environment for our students. Teachers should be willing to give the best of themselves while teaching and while interacting with their students. This doesn’t mean that teachers should not put limits or rules. Rules are important. But they should be rules that direct the students energy towards excellence. The secret is: “Teachers should teach with love and logic.” Remember: the more successful teachers are, the more respectful the students will be.
Here is what I mean by successful teaching.
- Cognitively successful teaching.
- No matter what it seems to be, our students are in need of a cognitive development.
- Teachers must have a clear view of the teaching methods, approaches and theories.
- Lesson plans should always be prepared with a room for improvisation in case of unexpected events.
- Teachers should keep students busy with motivating material.
- Teachers should help students understand the objectives of lessons.
- Teachers should take into consideration the differences between students. Differences in learning styles, for example are fundamental in the learning process.
- Students should participate in the choice of content (content that meets their needs) and its delivery (presentations, project work, …)
- Students should work as a group not as individuals. Competition is good. But when it leaves some students lagging behind, it becomes a source of stress and dissatisfaction.
- Affectively successful teaching.
- Our students are human beings.
- They have emotional needs.
- A stressful environment results from the lack of true human interaction and most tensions felt in the classroom are caused by misunderstanding.
- Teachers who care about students will have less problems . In other words, teachers with emotional intelligence are less likely to have classroom management issues.
- Classroom management issues appear when the channels of communication are absent.
- Students and teachers spend a lot of time at schools. It would be a pity if that time is spent in a stressful environment.
- Cognitively successful teaching.
- Teachers must not wait until the harm is done. A reactive approach rarely works to redress management issues. Of course, punishment works. But just for a short laps of time. Teachers , the administration and parents should work together to establish a caring atmosphere in our schools from the start. Students must be encouraged to be responsible, to see the importance of education, to set goals in their lives and to work so as to achieve them. This is part of our job. Without this enthusiasm on our part, the classroom will always be a place of either trivial play or boredom!