Thursday, March 15, 2012

Remembering my teacher voice

Last year I taught Year 4 Scripture for a term and it almost drove me mental.  How could 10 kids for half an hour be so frustrating?  And then I had to run a kid's club at my old job in the public library for Kindy kids each week.  How could one hour a week with 20 kids be so hard?

Well, it's because I hadn't remembered my cranky teacher voice.  I'm rediscovering it.  And I'm a whole lot better at it now that I've got my own kids.  I now know what it means to actually care about the kids, yet be really firm with them.  They aren't mutually exclusive (which I suspect is what I thought when I was a young (pretty bad) teacher). I'm also a whole lot better at sounding angry, yet being in total control of my emotions.  Those terrible tantrum years in the shops have trained me well.  Internalising emotion - regulating it.  Not taking everything so personally.  I'm certainly a lot less worried about what other teachers think of me than when I was a new teacher.

But refining my teacher persona is taking work.  I dislike immensely constantly correcting, nagging for better behaviour, reminding kids about how to behave - it is sooo tedious (probably why I never went into primary teaching the first time around).  I have to keep saying to myself, that it will only get better with consistency, repetition, consistency, repetition, consistency, repetition (you get the idea!).

However, part of the challenge when you're new is working out what you want from the kids.  Where your boundaries are.  What you're willing to put up with.  What other teachers expect from the kids.  And you usually work this out after the fact!

So a few dodgy Year 6 classes and a noisy Year 9 class later, I think I'm working it out.  It's quite empowering.

No comments: