Friday, December 12, 2008

Teaching Journal
Day 64, Friday, December 12, 2008

One of my daily goals as a teacher is to never raise my voice or say a loud ‘shhhh’, and on most days this year I’ve been successful. To me, a raised voice or a noisy ‘shhhh’ means the teacher is pushing, shoving, and pulling, and I would rather be leading. Forcing is not leading. Leading is done by example more than by stern looks or severe words. Anyone can raise his voice or do a vigorous ‘shhhh’, but that's not leading – and leading is what I want to learn to do. I want to learn to maintain a civil and considerate atmosphere in my classroom, not by imposing it by force and fear, but by being civil and considerate myself. Good behavior is catching, and I want to learn to allow mine to quietly infect the scholars. It seems to work better than the loudest ‘shhhh’.

As we were starting to listen to a song and do our weekly freestyle writing, one girl asked if she could use the bathroom. I gave her permission, and then decided to wait for her to return before starting the activity. When she came back, she was surprised that we had waited. She smiled and said "Thank you for waiting." When she was sitting down and ready to write, we began the song. 


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