Monday, December 8, 2014

Day 68: Gettin' Low (Vocally, That Is)

When my alarm went off this morning, I was sleeping deeply, face-down in my pillow.  The movie-style buzzing woke me with a jolt so strong that I may have strained a muscle in my back.

Not a great way to start a Monday.

I took this into consideration when interacting with my students today.  I purposely kept my voice lower than normal because it gives me pause with my words and makes me slower to anger and frustration.

Conversation has its own laws of momentum.  If a conversation starts out loud, out of anger OR excitement, it is much more likely to stay there, with excitement turning to anger very easily.

A teacher who is speaking loudly will, through their actions and demeanor, encourage students to do the same.  There are times when this is beneficial and times when it isn't.  Similarly, a teacher who is speaking softly sets a different tone for the class, for better or worse.

I know that on days when I am teaching at a high volume, even though it's from excitement, I am much quicker to become frustrated and that frustration is much quicker to turn to anger.

When I teach more quietly, either in a conversational tone or lower, I am more likely to think about my responses to students before they come out of my mouth.  Rather than yelling at kids, I am more likely to wait, or to calmly and politely ask them to stop being so rude.

In addition to that, the majority of my students are desensitized to yelling and it isn't an effective form of discipline or behavior modification.

At this point, I can't really say that my silence is much more effective, but it keeps me from yelling and, therefore, keeps my blood pressure down.

The sad thing is that it's always the same 5-6 kids that I have to wait for.  I have tried making contact with parents and guardians, but to no avail.  In the heat of the moment, I am blaming them for their poor choices and rude conduct, but I know it's not entirely on them.
It's tough to pay attention to terrible pictures like this one...

I am getting increasingly frustrated with myself because of my inability to make myself and my expectations understood to them.  I have talked to them individually, I'm talked to them as a group.  I've asked them to put themselves in the shoes of others.  I've been gentle and I've been harsh.

I don't have any idea where to go.

In bother period 1 and period 8, the rest of the students are starting to get beyond frustrated and annoyed with their classmates as I become increasingly reasonable and they are not responding.  I wonder how much longer until I get a phone call from of their parents asking why I can't control my class.

As a counterpoint, my geometry class is turning very quickly into a seminar class where I talk about a few things, then give them a single problem to work on.  Most excitedly work on it while other do guided notes and practice problems from the book.  It seems to be working out well for them and for me.

It's fantastic to watch kids explore mathematics!

I plan to include this and all of the other tales and pictures of successes of this kind under the hashtag #KidsEnjoyingMath which started this past weekend.

It does my heart good.

1 comment:

  1. "my inability to make myself and my expectations understood to them" Your conclusion may be faulty: they could very well understand your expectations and either not care or have other reasons they don't meet those expectations. It may be entirely unrelated to your ability to make yourself understood.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...