As you know, I’ve been encouraging new teachers and soon-to-be teachers to take the Amazing Teacher Pledge – a set of 10 promises that I believe all amazing teachers make.
To recap, here are the first four promises of the Amazing Teacher Pledge:
Here is Promise #5:
I promise to not “lose it” in the classroom.
I know you are probably chuckling right now, and that’s OK.
“Losing it” in the classroom, however, is common among new teachers and even some experienced teachers.
There will be “that” class.
You know what I’m talking about. It’s “that” class where it seems that every student struggling with ADHD in the school has been placed. They don’t – or can’t – pay attention for any length of time. They are not staying on task or allowing you to deliver your lesson.
You start considering your options:
1. Continue teaching as if nothing is happening.
2. Call the office for help.
3. Walk out of the classroom and come back in, expecting it to be all a dream.
4. Shout at the top of your lungs for the class to be quiet.
Many teachers choose #4. This one is the one I consider, “losing it.”
It’s so easy to just start yelling at the students.
It’s the fastest and easiest way to get their attention. Right?
“Losing it” in the class may get the class quiet for a while, but it is the greatest sign of incompetence that a teacher can display.
That was harsh, Sam.
I know, but here’s what I’ve learned over the years:
Teachers who yell at their students never make long-lasting connections with them.
Teachers who yell at their students have a difficult time earning their respect or trust.
Teachers who yell at their students build walls up between themselves and the students, which makes learning difficult.
Students go home and tell their parents that the teacher yells too much at the class, which begins to lessen the respect that the parents have for the teacher. This makes essential parent communication even tougher.
The teacher is seen as incompetent, because he/she can’t even control a class without “losing it.”
When a teacher is known for yelling in class – “losing it” – he/she loses so much more – respect, connections, admiration, parent support, administration support, etc.
I know it’s not easy. Sometimes a student can get on your last nerve. That student may want to attract attention at your expense.
It’s important that the teacher understand that he/she is the professional adult in the classroom. He/She has a responsibility to remain in control of his/her emotions.
I mentioned in an earlier post that in those moments when the temptation to just “go off” on a kid is the strongest, teachers have to remember three magic words that got me through some of those times – “They’re just kids.”
It’s very difficult for administration to justify a teacher yelling at a class in front of complaining parents. What do they say?
“Well Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, you have to understand, the teacher was trying to deliver her lesson, and your son was not allowing her to do so. She felt it was appropriate to raise her voice to get the class to focus back on the lesson.”
Amazing teachers don’t have to yell in the classroom.
They stop; they take inventory of the situation and take quiet action.
I’ve lost it in class, even later in my career. It’s tough to keep this promise, but we must if we want to be that amazing teacher.
Amazing teachers fight the temptation to raise their voice in frustration. Amazing teachers don’t “lose it.”
There you have it. Promise #5 of the Amazing Teacher Pledge – I promise to not “lose it” in the classroom.
What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts about this promise. If you think this one is rough, wait till you read Promise #6.
Until next time,