Friday, May 9, 2014

Dear Brownbag: Boiling Points

Dear Brownbag,
It drives me absolutely crazy when my students walk in to class without having done their homework. To me, it’s a blatant disregard for my authority. Even more so, it puts us behind schedule. Then I feel like I have to “tell them” all of the content to catch them up. I’ve tried pop quizzes and calling on them during discussion but I still feel my blood boil when they walk into class and I hear them telling each other “No I didn’t do it either.” What should I do?
-Boiling Points
Dear Boiling Points,
I get it. Trust me when I say we’ve all been welcoming our students into our classrooms with a smile when you overhear them talking about not doing their homework. It can be really irritating. There are two things to consider in this matter.
1) Your reactions: Don’t consider their actions as blatant attempts to hurt you because 99% of the time they are not. That being said, don’t get angry. Respond with grace and respect. Be kind to your students even when your natural human instinct tells you otherwise.
2) Your presence: How do you present yourself and class material/assignments in class? If there’s a hint of uncertainty in your voice, students subconsciously pick up on that. If you don’t think it’s important, they won’t. Instead, present all material with a spirit of excellence and the expectation that they will complete the assignments with that same spirit.
Frequently students will follow the leads of their teachers. Continue working on yourself and developing who you are as a teacher and you will find your students will be responsive to that.

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