Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Assume the best

Rick Smith says in Conscious Classroom Management that great teachers:
...assume the best...When we start to assume the best about our students and ourselves, teaching changes and results happen."
I've been trying my best to assume the best in my 6th period class. I've adusted my management so that they get a daily reward for good behavior (on top of the quarterly reward). They have a visual aid that reminds them of how they are progressing during the class (a pocket chart with colored cards - you know, the blue/yellow/orange/red kind). I have consequences for inappropriate behaviors, acknowledgements for appropriate ones.

6 weeks into the school year, I'm STILL pulling my hair out with this class. It's one of the reasons why I haven't blogged a lot lately. I promised myself that I would only blog about positive things.

And 6th period is most definitely NOT a positive thing.

But it's my job to turn it around so that IT IS.

So what's my action plan? Besides continuing what I already have in place, that is. Because I firmly believe that what I have in place is good - hell, it's working wonders for my 4 other classes. SOMETHING must be going right.

I need something else. I need something else. I have not thought of ANYTHING else this evening except that I NEED SOMETHING ELSE.

And then it hit me.

I need to make 6th period as positive a place as I'm trying to make my blog.

Because, as of right now, it isn't. I haven't assumed the best in my 6th period - or rather, I've grown to un-assume the best because I've done things that, in combination with the personal histories and temperament of 6th period, has snowballed into the most horrific class I've taught since my failed phase 2 of student teaching at EIB.

So I've got to change my behavior. Because God knows the kids won't do initiate it. They don't have the self-control - nor the self-assurance, nor the self-confidence - to do so. At least, not yet.

So I'm changing my behavior, in order to affect my experience, which will affect my 6th period's experience, which will affect all of our attitudes.

Which will then affect behaviors - for the good, and benefit, of all.

I'm starting with notes inspired by thingsweforget. I'm making, printing, and choosing some in each set to hand-write an additional note. Something more personalized. Then I'm giving them out to 6th period at the end of the day.

These notes will only be positive. Appreciations. Observations. Thank you notes. Encouragement notes. These notes will have a space for students to reply (optional). These notes are intended to say the things I forget to say during class - things I forget because I'm so busy playing "wack-a-mole," as one of my colleagues put it the other day, as a form of classroom management. And Wack-A-Mole is tiring, for me and for the moles.

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