Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Iron fist in a velvet glove

Sometimes having complete control can make your head spin. Being a teacher you get to be the boss. That means that I can be nice-boss or mean-boss. Or as the kids may consider it "nice Joy teacher" or "mean Joy teacher". Ok the kids I teach are not a whole bunch of rotten eggs, but when you put 12 kids together at a round table, who are about 8 yrs old, they are going to play.

Teacher Joy's steps to ruling the classroom:

  1. Take away everything that is in front of them. If this means walking up to them and physically asking for their books or pencils, do so. Now their hands are empty.
  2. If one child constantly fights with another, separate the two. However, be careful who you put the child next to because he may as well just fight with that kid.
  3. Threats. I put their names up on the board and mark a star next to their name. Good kid = more stars, bad kid = erase star. This works! Because the good ones get stickers in the end. Also they can count who is ahead and be competitive.
  4. Keep a pace. Try not to have too many moments when you are dealing with certain kids. If so quickly deal with it and continue the lesson.
  5. Remember you are the boss! Fear is something that can be grappling, so just look it in the eye and focus on what you are fearful of.
Ok those are my 5 pointers to being the Queen or King of your classroom. They were brief and basically highlighted what I did today to have a stress free class with one of my classes. However I teach this same class twice on Thursday so we will see if it works out again.



  1. One modification I made to the star system is this:

    instead of giving individual stars, I give class stars -- I had a few classes where seven students were good, but one was a hellion, and ruined the class for everybody. . . he didn't care about stickers, so I could give him as many "X"'s as I wanted, and he'd go on making it impossible for the others to learn.

    Then I gave three stars to the entire class, added for good, subtracted for bad, and rewarded all the students, good AND bad, the same: this improved the group feeling of the class, and it meant that the OTHER STUDENTS told Peter to sit down and be quiet, instead of ME being the only one trying to keep him in line, because THEIR incentives were on the line too, when Peter stepped out of line. I always rewarded the class together and punished them together, so that they policed themselves.

    It works.

    (now I teach adults)

  2. Hi,
    I think I have done something similar to this but not to the same degree. I know a class I have that I would like to experiment this with, so thanks for the tip!


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