This week I'm talking TALK. From the fraught to the outrageous I will dissect and discuss the talking points that make my classroom the kind of space it is.
"Grade 1’s” (firm whisper) …
… “Grade 1’s?” (firmer, more urgent whisper)
… “G. r . a . d . e o . n . e . s” (drawn out louder whisper. Deep breath.)
…“GRADE ONES!!” (Sudden Teacher Shouting Strategy, dramatically deployed)
Mixed results. OK. Deep breathe. Cry a little inside.
Repeat process from step A (firm whisper). Repeat sudden shouting. Shout again, but this time adjust facial expression to move from stern to ‘saddened and resigned’ and then back to neutral. We know that neutral is where the good game play is really at.
Remind the children gravely that as a collective, “Grade 1” is their name and that I am addressing them in order that I might tell them something that I’d like them to hear. Do they want to hear it?
That is not the point.
But then again, it really is. This interaction is currently one of my daily grinds. It didn’t used to be like this. In the early months of the year getting my students’ attention was akin to how Disney Princesses burst into song and all the magical creatures spontaneously sing along. I had only to utter the opening lines of a favourite tune and a chorus of happy voices would chime out alongside mine. Then, like a conductor to their orchestra I would lower my hands and a calm stillness would prevail over the class. A small internal smile. I’ve got this.
Like hell. You poor innocent fool.
On bad days, I am inclined to interpret the current ungratifying and relentless scenario played out above as a sign that I am in ill-equipped and terrible teacher whose students have no respect (and why should they?) On better days, I am inclined to interpret the same situation as par for the course – it is September after all – and to remind myself that engaging my students meaningfully and strategically is LITERALLY MY JOB.
But what really causes this decay in relational dialogue between me and my students? What could I do to turn the talk around so that we don't keep repeating the same painfully unyielding script? And perhaps most urgently, how do I adjust my internal dialogue to allow this?
Head over to The Visionary and The SQ where I will reflect on these questions and investigate potential alternatives and best practices that could improve my classroom's TALK!
Or head back to the menu at Snapshots.
A daunted but determined teacher irons out the creases of her brain.