(Note that I do plan on going back to talking about things other than teaching again eventually; for obvious reasons it’s just what’s been foremost on my mind lately.)
Here’s the goal I’m setting myself for 2013-14: I’m going to go the entire year without yelling at any of my kids. And by “my kids,” in this context, I mean “any kid in my building,” not just in my class.
Now, let me be specific on what I mean here: I emphatically do not mean “I will never yell” or “I will never raise my voice.” My job would be impossible without occasionally having to raise my voice, and frequently a good loud “YO!” at the front of the room can refocus a classroom when more traditional, gentler methods fail.
What I mean is this: I’m going to make it an entire school year, or as close to it as I can, without ever raising my voice at a kid. There’s a difference between generic Loud-Talkin’ to a roomful of kids and raising my voice to a specific kid. If you know me, y’all know that I tend to have a bit of a temper and I tend to be a bit on the volatile side.
I spent last year working for a guy who I saw defuse potentially nasty situations (and situations that were well past “potentially” nasty) on any number of occasions without ever once speaking harshly to a kid. Not one single goddamn time. And he got results over and over again. I don’t want to be yelly guy any more. This may well sound shocking coming from me, but I need love to be a bigger part of my pedagogy than it’s been in the past.
I’m a good teacher. I need to work on being a better person at school. I need to be someone who is better at de-escalation. I need my temper squashed. And I’m going to find a way to do it this year.
2013-14: no more yelling at kids.