As a teacher, have you really ever listened to what students talk about? Believe it or not, there are some pretty good conversations out there. A casual “ear to the ground” can let you know a lot about what is happening up and down the halls and in classrooms. For some reason, it seems to me, we do not give students enough credit sometimes to be able to think on a more mature level. Now, I am not saying that we should always provide them with a platform, but just listening and acknowledging goes a long way.

For example… the other day, I heard a student talking about another student’s conversation and their teacher in class. Work with me here; you know how this will go… it is worthy of being a case study…

Teacher… Here are the directions. Don’t ask me again, because I am not going to repeat them.
A few seconds go by…
Student… Could you please say what you said again?
Teacher… No, you should have been listening.
Student gets upset.
The teacher sends the student to the office.
The student is now out of class.
Much time has now passed.
The administration walks the student back to class.
Instruction time is stopped again.
Administration, teacher, student all get on the same page.
The teacher gives students the needed information.
The student goes back to class.
All is good?

Wow, know any teachers like this? Ok… I know we all want students to be attentive. My question is, why and how did it get to that point? I know we all want them to come in, sit down, be quiet, sit appropriately, etc. However…

If this is the worst thing you have to deal with, you have it pretty good as a teacher. So the student asked again. Did you set the stage for all of them to pay attention, to begin with? What did you do to help? It would have taken little to no effort to restate the directions. The teacher could have spun it to be a teachable moment of comedy. The teacher could have even gone back to the student’s desk and had a one on one moment. I don’t know, but telling the student no, did not help anyone.

Another question I have is what type of rapport are you establishing with that student and others? Remember, everyone in the class saw and heard the teacher’s response, and you know how student talk gets spread…

I do not know what was going on with the student or the teacher that day. I do not know why the situation had to escalate as it did. I know that we can get aggravated with students. But… I do know that in the end, the teacher had the opportunity to be the bigger, better person.

I have said this before, “If you can create an environment where your students feel invited, regardless of the subject you teach, they are going to give you more than a fair shake.” Be the teacher your students need. It will make a huge difference.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2021 J Clay Norton

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