Saturday, 13 August 2016

Struggling to win over your students. Try this...

As the new school year begins and you meet your new class of students, are you concerned of personality clashes?

We have all had the experience of a personality clash, whether it be with a parent, colleague or student.   It's tough... putting 25 individual students into a class with an adult and that they all have to get along.  You may have found, in the past, (or you may have even identified one already) you have a personality clash with one of your students.  It doesn't make you a bad person, or them a bad person.  Your personalities just...clash.

It is, however, your job as the adult to try every possible way to try and win this student over and make their year an enjoyable one - because we all know that a happy student results in a productive year.  (Plus, happy students = happy teachers)

This is a list of suggestions that you can use to attempt in winning that students over.

  1. Praise them for the tiniest things - you may want to read my blog post on "Be Your Student's Hero".  It focuses on finding the positive in each child and praising them for little things.
  2. Pay them a compliment - By paying them a compliment, it shows them that you notice them and find good in them.
  3. Give them a special job - This shows that you trust them and what are relationships based on?  Trust!  Make sure that the job you give will enable the student to experience success.  You don't want it to backfire and you end up nagging and complaining more than before.
  4. Write a note home to their parents about a good occurrence - There is nothing more special than if you take the time out to make a fuss to the parents.  A special call or note can go a long way.  
  5. Send them to the principal with good work.  Once again, recognition.  You are recognizing that they have achieved something.  Look at things like improving their work, an exceptionally well presented task, good group work, a well read passage (all based on their standards and not the highest achieving pupil in class's standards).  You need to vary it up so that the same children are not always going.  Find reasons for your 'unwilling' child to showcase themselves. 
  6. Use them as a good example - "Look at how tidy Tom's desk is." Let them feel proud in front of the class for something they did.
  7. Find reasons to move up on the reward charts - Often this student will not have many dots/stars/points on the reward chart as they act out 'against' you.  Find reasons to give them rewards.  Bringing me back to my past post, you need to find the positive in every child.  What self-worth does a child with no stars have in a class filled with 'chart-fillers'?  None!  
  8. Share a secret - It can be about what you did over the weekend or a fear you have.  By giving them a piece of information as a secret, you are 'letting your guard down' and opening yourself up to them.  You will then share something that no one else does.  It also once again shows that you trust them.
  9. Inquire about their likes and dislikes - show you are interested.  Once you know what they like, you can make a conscious effort to find out about it.  Maybe it's a specific football team (find out when they are playing and make mention of the scores in class), maybe it's horses or camping or fishing or reading or math...
What is important to remember, is that you want your attempt to be subtle.  Enough for the student to feel a positive emotion but not enough for the class to pick up on it and start teasing or discriminating against the child for being the 'favorite'.  Find a balance.

I hope you have found these suggestions helpful.  I am also busy with a series of identifying and handling specific behavior problems.  You may want to check it out if you think your student has a specific behavior problem.

I would love to hear what you found useful in your class and success you have experienced in willing over a child.

Let's make learning fun!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Be Your Student's Superhero!

This has been on my mind for a while now.  It is something that I think does not come naturally to everyone, and is therefore overlooked by many.  It applies to not only teachers, but parents too.

I'll be honest with you and admit that my 'light-bulb' moment only happened after my daughter, Megan, was born.  She is six now and from when she could move, talk, and even blink I realized that she had a mind of her own and would be D.E.T.E.R.M.I.N.E.D to show me who is boss (well, I had news for her...).  The more I argued, the more she dug her heels in.  The more I punished, the more she had to prove her point.  The more I explained, the more she negotiated.  It was a constant battle...until... I shifted my focus.  My role as a mother was to be her HERO.  As a teacher, we have the same role towards our students. 

So what did I do?  I focused on all the positive she was doing.  I did mention and offer an alternative for undesired behavior, but I focused on the positive.  Don't get me wrong, there were consequences for certain situations but I "picked my battles."  I focused on the good she was doing and not so much on the 'bad'.  She thrived off the positive reinforcement and therefore sought it out.  Asking for more responsibility, in order to show off her 'positive' skills.

Right, now how does this fit in with being your student's hero, you may ask?  The secret is... Focus on the Positive.

Adopt this attitude...

... and I can assure you that you will start looking at your students differently and they in turn, will look at you differently.

Find something in every child that is special, and focus on that.  No matter how naughty, rude, untidy or disruptive they are.  There WILL be something!  Focus on the positive.

Go out of your way to praise them for the tiniest things: the ability to share, tidy up, raise their hand, wait their turn, pick up papers, speak politely, hang their coat on the hook, hold the pencil correctly, creativity in the dolly corner, agility on the obstacle course, ability to balance on the beam... and so I can go on.

Make them feel like they matter!  Like you notice them!  Like they are special! Like you are truly happy to see them and have the privilege to know them!

(Am I going a bit far saying it is a privilege to know each of your students?  No.  If you find the positive in each child, you will realize that it IS a privilege to know each one of them!)

With some children you may need to dig deep to find the positive quality to praise, and you know what?  Those are the children that most often need it the most!

Be their HERO!  Make them matter!

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