If you’re a regular reader of this website, then you know creating leverage is critical to classroom management success.
One of the most powerful ways of creating leverage is to become admired—a hero to your students.
I know. It’s not your job to be admired, or even liked.
But the fact remains: the more students admire you, the easier classroom management will be.
How To Be A Superhero
Have you ever had a hero, someone you looked up to?
Think of how much you wanted to please her, how badly you would have felt disappointing her. Now what if your most difficult students felt that way about you?
Think of the leverage you would have.
For if you can become a hero in your students’ eyes, then you’ll have the kind of personal, magnetic influence that changes behavior.
Cause No Friction
Keeping your cool and letting your classroom management plan do its job, however, will put you in stark contrast with most of your colleagues, and your students will love and respect you because of it.
Few students feel like they’re really listened to. And yet it means so much to them to have a voice. So when a student comes to you with a problem, don’t write him off as a tattletale.
Look him in the eye, nod your head as you consider the problem, and then take care of it. Solving problems and addressing areas of concern shows students, perhaps more than anything else, that you really care. And in return, when you need them (to influence other students), they’ll be there for you.
Have you ever felt bad for your class because they had to endure the behavior of certain difficult students and then sit through your… ahem… reactions to them? That’s tragic! Do something about it.
Decide that you will protect your students from interruptions, distractions, and the selfish actions of a few. If you can manage your classroom in such a way that insulates students from such nonsense—see Dream Class and keep reading this site—then you’ll be one of the Fantastic Four to your students.
Master the art of meaningful praise. Small, personal, sincere acts of praise can have a profound impact on students and is especially effective in endearing them to you.
But praise must be worthy. False praise, especially in the form of loud, public displays, has a fleeting and often negative effect on students. Done correctly, praise can send students running in the direction of what is good, what is right, and of what pleases you.
Lighten up and have some fun. Enjoy your time with your students. Kids are funny, and they all love a teacher with a sense of humor. So tell jokes, laugh, and be silly once in a while.
There may not be an easier way to create leverage. If you can make them laugh, they’ll think you’re the greatest teacher in the world.
Be A Leader
If you’re quick to complain and moan about this and that, if you’re wishy-washy, flustered, forgetful, and disorganized, then you’ll be as inspiring as a desk chair to your students.
Be worthy of a hero’s status by carrying yourself with calm confidence. Be decisive, prepared, and behave in manner you expect from them. They’ll clue into the way you handle yourself, with how you respond to adversity, and with the gentle way you interact with them.
And they’ll do the same.
A Breath Of Fresh Air
These six superhero traits will elicit strong reactions from students. And because they’re so different from what students are used to, you’ll be a breath of fresh air, a welcome shock to the system.
But here’s the thing, the bonus:
You’ll feel great about what you’re doing. You’ll love your job. Classroom management won’t be such a challenge. And you’ll be confident in knowing you’re affecting students for the better, that you’re making an indelible mark on the story of their lives.
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