When I first started teaching children in 1980 I thought that each day would be a wonderful educational experience. I thought my students would listen attentively while I spoke. I thought they would always do wonderful work. I thought they would behave well if I treated them with kindness and respect. Blah! Blah! Blah! That lasted about two days before reality set in. I remember having these two cousins in class who got off the bus each morning punching each other. I learned quickly. I adapted. I got control. I became a much better, more realistic teacher. It only took me...okay, still working on it.
Yesterday was a "Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" in Mrs. Maurer's class! I'll be the first to admit it. My worst students were being their worst, and a couple of my so-so students went over to the dark side a couple of times. We had a "lock down" (stranger on campus) drill that went pretty well, but left all the kids very excited. I was agitated and disappointed by the behavior of my students. Let me just be clear here- one tried to make a "snow angel" on the floor. One of my boys punched a girl. Two of my better students did a project totally wrong because they were talking during instructions and then just copied off of the closest student to them, one who never follows directions. One refused to do his handwriting- even hid it and tried to do something else. One tore a book. One called another a bad word. One turned his chair over. I could go on................................................... Maybe you can understand why I didn't use my nice voice all day. I don't yell. But I do have a not-so-nice voice.
I also sat my students down in a circle on the rug and told them I was very disappointed and angry. Then I told them why. That's what I do. I try to be honest with my students. I want them to know that I'm human. I also want them to know that I can be angry, talk about it, and go on to something positive, because that's what I want them to learn to do. We read "If You're Angry and You Know It" and sing the song because it gives students ideas about what to do...other than hurt someone. And I want them to understand that there are adults in their life who can be angry with them and still love them and care for them and give them another chance to do well.
That's one of the great things about kindergarten students. They don't hold a grudge, and I don't either. We will start the day today as though it is going to be the best day of the year. And even if it turns out to be "not so good", we will also begin the next day with a smile and high hopes.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving! I'll be on break next week, but I plan to post a few management tips and some examples of weekly reports and such that I have created.
*That's the title of a great book by the way. The author is Judith Viorst.