Controlling Your Classroom:
Firstly, make no mistake, there will be a ton of things that you can’t control as a classroom teacher. Instead of focusing on the things outside of our control, why not put all of your energies into the things that you can control.
Moreover, by focusing on controllable factors, it allows you to put more emphasis on your development as a teacher. Focusing on things outside of your control puts you in a negative stratosphere, creating an environment of complaining while sustaining a learning atmosphere that’s, not in the best interest of students.
Managing Your Classroom:
As a classroom teacher in Baltimore City Public Schools, my classroom was my peace. It was my escape from all of the ails that existed in the system. I was able to establish classroom norms, and create systems geared toward a normalized learning experience for students.
In fact, I could not control the trauma experienced by some of my students in their homes. Rather than focus on the uncontrollable, one thing I could control was establishing a safe space for my students to learn.
High Expectations For Students:
Students that experience trauma in their homes more than likely has self-esteem issues. These students don’t want you to feel sorry for them. Students want you to show them a way out of their current situation. Kids want you to believe in them and their abilities. They want consistency, as in you at work every day. Children want to be at the forefront of your thoughts, and they want to know that they can count on you no matter what.
Notwithstanding, I wouldn’t dare ask you to try and control the trauma experienced by your students. Here’s where apathy for your students should automatically activate itself. Your students need you to be clear headed, to raise the bar, and keep it raised. They will rise to the occasion if you believe in them.
Believing in Your Students:
It is easy to become overly consumed by the things you can’t control. After all, we’re only human. Students don’t need humans, they need superheroes. Kids need you to see the future and help them in maximizing their potential. Students are going to make you mad. Students are going to do everything in their power to test your resolve, but as a superhero, take their antics with a grain of salt, as you are doing this work for the greater good, and your belief in their ability supersedes anything else. Once they know you’re in it, and willing to do anything and everything they need to experience success, relationships move from being contentious to that of admiration.
Not Being a Bore:
Easier said than done. I refused to be a bore in my classroom. When students experience boredom in schools, they become talkative (unaccountable talk). In the classes that were actively engaged, my full attention was on that teacher. Pardon my candidness, but a lot of teachers (at least from my experience) use their classrooms as their soapbox. Students don’t want to hear you talk. The faster you embrace this fact, the faster your superhero senses will activate, allowing you to create “rock star” lessons that your students find engaging.
For more research on utilizing teacher leadership as a catalyst for change in your schools, read this article: https://goo.gl/NY52ca