Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How do I stop a teacher from yelling?

Ms. Dorothy -
I run an afterschool program and have an assistant who will be doing her student teaching in January. She has several years of experience in working with kids, but not with me.
The problem is that she yells at kids and 'gets in their face'. When I talk to her about it, she seems to understand, but continues to do it when the kids are not listening and when she thinks I'm not around. I have shared my philosophy about mutual respect supported by firm boundaries, but she doesn't seem to be listening.
Any great Ms. Dorothy insight?
- After School Teacher

One of the hardest things to learn, without living to a ripe old age, is how fragile life is.

There are two great sayings that get passed around. I don't agree with either, and I've modified both.

First is the Golden Rule. "Do unto others as you would have done unto you." This one presupposes that how I feel, and what I want, is right for everyone. It neglects the cultural and personal preferences of "other" and it allows us to keep "self" at the center of all interactions

So, my Platinum Rule is "Do unto others as they would have done unto them." Check in first. Ask if a hug is welcome before hugging.

Ask the students to help devise a way to get their attention and remind them to tune in when they are not listening.

The second is "Live every day as if it is your last." This one invites you to give freely without concern about holding back something for later. And yet, it is still centered on the self.

Being a teacher isn't about the self. It's about the other.

So, I prefer "Live every day as if you will live forever, and no one else will." Be more kind than you think is called for. Give away more than you think you can. Be gentle and remember, there are no guarantees that this won't be the LAST thing they hear.

If we stop and take the perspective of the child to heart, we will "first do no harm." (That's one I wouldn't modify.)

Help her to see her interactions with the children differently & perhaps her approach will change.

1 comment:

  1. Dorothy, love how you've modified those two old chestnuts... Yes focusing on the Other so often gains greater results for both parties, even though the obvious thing is to act on "me-me-me"...