Friday, November 18, 2011

Teaching aka Flying by the Seat of Your Pants)

T. has been in some kind of mood this week. (His mom and I call it "preparing me for parenting".) Every answer is no, every response is rude, and every question is ignored.

Luckily, I know how to play the sassy teenager game. I invented the sassy teenager game. (Just ask my parents. They literally spent 1999-2006 wondering if this impulsive, tempermental teenager was switched at birth with their sweet, levelheaded child.)

Since I'm determined not to punish him, but instead help him learn to deal with his anger and frustration, I started reading a book called Positive Discipline in the Classroom. The first thing it says about classroom management is to give the student limited choices. (Both choices have to be something you would be happy to have the student do.)

This morning I went in armed and ready. This was a good thing, because T. immediately came in and started wreaking havoc. After I redirected him, he pouted, put his hood over his head, and sat down at his desk. I walked over  and quietly asked him "Would you rather get started on the computer or read a book?" I was calm. I was cool. I was Positive Discipline all the way.

Then he popped his head up and said "Neither."

Um....crap. Was there a part in the book that mentioned what the heck to do or say when the student says neither?!?!?

This is why I tell T. he needs to be a lawyer. People would literally throw their money at him in order to not have to argue with him anymore. (Chapel Hill law admissions, are you reading this?)

I sat there, stumped. I was too tired to raise my voice, so I just quietly said "Those are your choices. You go ahead and sit there until you're ready to get started."

A half hour went by, and then he magically got up and began his computer work without a word.

So I learned two lessons today:
1.) Sometimes being too tired to get angry is beneficial, and
2.) Patience pays off

Oh, and as for what the book says to do about an answer of "neither"? Tell them they can sit and cool down until they're ready to make a choice.



Eldridge said...

So proud of your "fly by the seat of your pants" response! It was definitely what your little friend needed. I'm going to send you a forced-choice reinforcer will help you see what sorts of things he may want/need to motivate him to work. Always remember that the patience and love you show your students plant more seeds in their lives than even the curriculum can do!

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