Why good teachers go away
What you can do right now
08/09/2011 | Dr. Ruth Herman Wells, M.S.
Teachers, you may be working in the single most difficult time period ever for K-12 educators. You may feel as discouraged and low as you have ever felt during all your years in education. You continue to be asked to do more with less, meaning that your job has been getting tougher and tougher. As someone who trains teachers all over North America, I’ve been hearing over and over again that classroom management is getting harder and harder as classes get bigger and bigger, and students seem to be more and more difficult. Many of you have told me that you’re so discouraged that you’re thinking about finding a different job. This column has immediate help. It can help you end the classroom management nightmare that drives many good teachers to abandon the profession entirely.
STOP using yesterday’s methods to manage today’s students
Teacher training seldom includes practical, “real-world” methods that precisely fit today’s hard-to-manage students. If you are still using one-size-fits-all discipline methods with all students, you have probably discovered that with the most unmanageable students, “nothing works.” If you will upgrade your skills to incorporate the more powerful, updated methods used by other youth professionals such as counselors and court workers, you can immediately begin to stop the disrespect, defiance, back-talk, and other flagrant acting-out behaviors. Learn more about these updated methods by reading some of the tutorial articles on our website here: http://youthchg.com/education.html, http://youthchg.com/racetotop.html and http://youthchg.com/consultant.html. The third link has a quick quiz so you can evaluate your readiness to manage out-of-control students.
START using yesterday’s standards with today’s students
Years ago the expectations for student conduct were very high. Now, when I lead educator professional development workshops, teachers often come up to me at breaks and whisper to me that they haven’t been able to stop students from engaging in extreme misconduct like verbally and physically bullying the teacher, and coming and going from class at will. Out-of-control behavior begets out-of-control behavior. You must find the fortitude and updated skill set you need to maintain a safe and productive classroom. I always recommend that if your classroom has been severely out-of-control for an extended period, say a month or more, that you consider shutting down the class. It is often easier to start over than to overcome the students’ perception that they can do whatever they want without consequence.
However, before starting over, you must overhaul your skills and develop the internal wherewithal that is equally essential if any improvement is to occur. Teachers often ask me how they can develop that internal strength. Although trainers like me can teach you more effective classroom management methods to upgrade your skill set, changing internally isn’t something that can just be taught. I recommend that if you are uncertain whether you have what it takes to manage serious behavior problems, that you find a talented mentor. Choose someone who successfully manages the type of student that presents your biggest challenge. Select a mentor who has a personality and teaching style close to yours so their insights are more likely to resonant with you.
STOP feeling bad and START taking action
There’s an old saying, “There’s not enough money in the world to pay you to do a job you don’t love.” While that saying may be true for other jobs, it’s not true for teachers. Teachers do the most important work that exists. Teachers shape the world generation after generation. If you’re a talented, gifted educator who no longer loves teaching, consider this a call to action to stop feeling bad, and start taking steps to repair the situation. There’s a world and generation of students who need you.
Free classroom management guides
Here are two brief guides to help you start updating your classroom management skills. The first guide focuses on learning the specialized techniques you need to successfully manage your most uncontrollable youngsters. The second guide is an excellent example of how you must teach students the behaviors you want them to have. This guide focuses on class discussion skills but you’ll need to also teach students compliance skills, respect, on-time attendance, and all the other skills students need to behave in an acceptable manner in school. Students may never be able to perform skills they haven’t been taught. If you begin to teach students improved behavior skills tomorrow, you may begin to see improved behavior tomorrow. Download the guides at http://youthchg.com/strategies.html.
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