Behaviour Management: Always Take the Weather with You

clouds-dawn-dramatic-1118873.jpgWe’ve all had those classes: like tornados, they descend into the classroom, causing chaos and raising the temperature of even the most glacial teacher. This class can be a forecast of worry, stress and exasperation for you. How can you weather the storm and find that sunshine after the rain?

Climate Control

Imagine this scenario: for one of your students, it’s been a fantastic day, their lessons have gone well and there isn’t a cloud in the sky! They’re on cloud nine as they arrive at your lesson with a spring in their step and a beam on their face. “Hi Miss!” they call as they enter your classroom.

Perhaps you’ve faced some thunder and lightning in one of your other classes today. Perhaps you’re preparing to face a blizzard in this lesson. Perhaps you’ve had one good lesson, but that was period 1 and it’s now period 5 and one swallow doesn’t make a summer, does it?

“Sit down, books out, let’s get on with this,’ you grumble, eyes overcast, a storm furrowing your brow. “We’ve got a lot to get through this lesson.’

What do you think is going to happen to your student’s mood? At best, some clouds might gather; the worst case scenario is that the negativity of that reply is going to rub off on their good mood and make it pour.

Very often, our classes respond to our temperaments. Every teacher can have a bad day, but your students shouldn’t know it. Every lesson is a fresh start and your forecast can only be negative if their first glimpse of you is negative too.

Stormy Weather

Now let’s reverse this: Your student mopes into the classroom like a wet weekend. Perhaps they are feeling a little under the weather. Perhaps they’ve faced a situation earlier in the day, a storm in a teacup, but it’s left them with a face like thunder. Perhaps they just feel like everything is going wrong all at once – it never rains, but it pours. How might you respond?

That earlier response is just going to add to that black, tempestuous cloud they have been carrying around all day.

Instead, what if you allow that mist to part a little: “Tough day? Do you want to talk about it?” A small gesture like this could start to thaw that arctic temperature and let some sunshine in through their clouds.

Who Ordered the Sunshine?

As much as teachers can have more to make them frown than smile, part of the job is stepping into that role to support, encourage and motivate our students, something that is much more effective if done with sunshine instead of rain. Our influence as teachers is significant. Like a raindrop in a pool of water, our influence creates ripples through what we say and do, how we treat our students and how we make our students feel. A positive manner with our students can warm and nurture them, overshadowing poor stimuli and helping them to develop and grow.

As much as we can get caught under a rain cloud, be ready for students to brighten your day: the one who finally gets that ray of understanding; the student who asks for help in the eye of the storm; or the student who you help to reach cloud nine with their GCSE results. We are teachers in all weather, but I promise that a little bit more sunshine in your classroom will go down a storm.

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