It Was Almost Spring Outside Today and Oh Yeah…I Am In Newsweek
Today was gorgeous!! There was sunshine, blue skies and no need for a jacket…I can practically hear my open toed shoes calling my name (as well as the local nail salon who knows that Mrs. Mimi is in serious need of a pedi). I keep trying to tell Mr. Mimi (who is a southern California boy) that this is why we love seasons…1) when the weather turns nice you appreciate the sh*t out of it and 2) changing up your whole wardrobe a few times a year to accommodate the weather keeps everyone on their toes.
Anyhow, my guess is that your friends may have been a bit antsy today. Am I right? The change in the weather must trigger something in their little brains…the end is near! Outside recess! Spring break! THE END IS NEAR! (Although for teachers, this realization that the end is indeed near is both FREAKING AMAZING for obvious reasons and also TERRIFYING as we begin to realize just how much ground we have to cover before June.)
Adding to the challenge of the impending new season is the possibility of new behavioral issues springing up around you. (Pun so intended.) You’re thinking you’ve got your classroom in order and then BAM! A child who has laid dormant all winter is IN YOUR FACE with a host of new issues and fool-proof behaviors aimed at distracting your already distracted friends.
Despite my love for the naughty boys, I am no stranger to such behavior. I am quite familiar with the old “I’m going to pretend that I am lost in thought while holding my pencil poised above my paper but really I’m waiting for you to look away so I can resume my shenanigans” look.
Out of nowhere, my Super Colleagues and I have all had children randomly start to refuse to take tests (although I can’t blame them…there ARE so many), decide to throw things at other children in class while laughing like a lunatic from the back of the classroom and begin to torment other children. I mean, talk about a sweet wrap up to your year, right? And thusly, even at the end of the year, you, the teacher, need to choose your battles wisely.
So, for those moments when choose to engage, may I make a suggestion? Share an idea from one of my Super Colleages?
(Several of my Super Colleagues and I were in on this plan, so gather round some of your buddies to execute the following.)
When a child is really ruining the day of everyone around them (and probably their own day as well), it’s time for that child to take a break, right? I mean, I know everyone who has never stepped in a classroom will suggest that you find time to talk one on one with the child or turn their behavior into a teachable moment or blah blah blah and that’s all well and good but sometimes, sometimes YOU JUST NEED TO GET THROUGH THE NEXT HOUR AND DEAL WITH IT LATER. Now please keep your non-teacher teaching opinions to yourself. Thank you.
Now, in these situations, we would send a responsible child with a sealed note saying something like, “You-know-who is throwing pencils from the back of the room. Can you come by and get him?” The recipient would respond with an estimated time (“Am finishing up conference, be there in two.”) and send the child back to class. The original teacher would continue to ignore the behavior when all of a sudden, the requested Super Colleague would swoop into the classroom, make a bee-line to the friend in question, take them by the hand (gently of course) and leave. In this moment, the Super Colleague would not make eye contact with any other children, say anything or hesitate. The child in question was usually so caught off guard that they just got up and went. (Granted, no one ever refused to go in this scenario, so if it doesn’t work for you, I’m sorry and have no back up for you…)
Why do I think this seemed to work so well? First, we didn’t play this card very often…we saved it for those oh-so-special moments that threaten to rob your of your sanity. Second, the child clearly knew how to push the buttons of their own teacher and was not going to stop unless removed from the classroom for a period of time. Third, they didn’t really have any beef with the teacher who came to got them. They saved their beef for their own teacher. And fourth, we caught them totally off guard. Mwaaa haaa haaa!
Sometimes, I felt like I should be wearing a cape.
Oh, and did I mention that my alter ego (a.k.a. me using my real name) was quoted in the March 15th issue of Newsweek in an article discussing how so many first year teachers struggle to actually teach because many are unprepared for the behavioral issues they must face? I didn’t? That’s funny because I AM QUOTED IN FREAKING NEWSWEEK!
Disclaimer alert: Please know that I have not yet read the remainder of the articles about the classroom presented in the same issue of Newsweek (You know, the one I’m quoted in?), so I have no idea where they went with their whole cover story…but still. NEWSWEEK!
Maybe I will have a cape made after all…
Awesome! Congratulations! And of course, you are absolutely right. My first education class was "Classroom Management" and we spent half a semester learning about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test. It was really neat, but gave me NOTHING to control a class (unless I was going to administer the test to each kid). Everything I know about management came from my teacher leaders and daily professional development my first two years of teaching. When I started fifth grade at the school I'm at now, I couldn't imagine being thrown into a classroom fresh out of college with no support. I finally understood why so many teachers leave within the first five years.
I particularly love this line from the article: "Education Secretary Arne Duncan has acknowledged what a huge issue classroom management has become." Yet another missed opportunity for PARENT ACCOUNTABILITY. It's not our fault the kids don't behave!!!
It's about darned time that someone quotes you, because the world needs to know what we all know: Ms. Mimi ROCKS!
On a side note, since we're not really friends but I read you all the time so I feel like we sorta are, have you seen this? http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/magazine/07Teachers-t.html?pagewanted=1
What do you think? Post us a post if you can, because I really want to know. I promise to comment on that one, too.
The cover story sucks. Big time.
Oh snap! You are so famous!!! Finally, teacher's voices are being heard. It's about time. You people have the hardest jobs in the world. Congrats on being the voice for urban teachers everywhere! Woo woo!
I awarded you the happiness 101 award on my blog fallingfromprams.wordpress.com
Yay for Newsweek! 🙂
That article was better than the "why we must fire bad teachers" article. I tried to read that one this week and gave up after 3 paragraphs. Now that budgets are ugly, it's time to bash teachers. Your article was better. I could read the whole thing and I agree with everything. Congrats!