Without spot-on classroom management, dealing with unruly students can be maddening.
It’s easy to lose your cool.
And when you do, when you yell, scold, and wag your finger, you’re often rewarded with immediate improvement.
A thorough dressing-down can stop misbehavior in its tracks. But the price is exorbitantly high.
Yelling is a costly mistake.
1. Improvement is temporary.
Yelling only works in the moment. Like a playground bully, it’s used to intimidate students into compliance. The only reason why it works is because the teacher has an unfair size and/or authority advantage.
2. It doesn’t change behavior.
Behavior only changes when students want to behave better–which is the result of strict accountability combined with a teacher they like and trust. In the end, yelling causes more misbehavior, not less.
3. It weakens your influence.
Yelling will cause students to secretly dislike you, distrust you, and desire to disrupt your class. Let’s face it. Even one revengeful student can make your life miserable. You need your students on your side.
4. It replaces real accountability.
Teachers who yell tend to do so instead of following their classroom management plan. Students learn quickly that if they can endure their teacher’s outburst, they can be on their way without being held accountable.
5. It sabotages real accountability.
Teachers who lecture, yell, or scold while escorting students to time-out, drive a wedge through the teacher/student relationship, causing anger and resentment. So instead of sitting in time-out and reflecting on their mistake, your students will be seething at you.
6. It causes students to tune you out.
When you yell, you train your students to listen to you only when you raise your voice. In other words, they learn that unless you’re shouting, you must not really mean it. Before you know it, you’ll be giving directions like a carnival sideshow barker.
7. It’s stressful.
Yelling is a sure sign that you let misbehavior get under your skin. It’s an expression of frustration, of taking behavior personally, and of trying to get even with students. It’s also terribly stressful. It’s bad for your health. And it makes teaching a cheerless slog.
8. It’s difficult to defend.
Yelling at students is near the top of the list of parent complaints. And it’s difficult to defend. “I’m sorry, I just lost my cool” is about the best you can do. The fact is, no misbehavior, and no level of disrespect, warrants yelling at students.
9. It’s graceless.
Have you ever seen yourself on video losing your cool? Probably not, but one thing is for sure: it ain’t pretty. You might as well grab a megaphone and shout, “Hey everybody–students, fellow teachers, administration–I don’t have control of my class!”
10. It provides a poor model.
Students are more influenced by what you do than by what you say. When you yell, react emotionally to misbehavior, or otherwise lose your composure, you provide a poor model for your students for how to behave when things don’t go their way.
Instead Of Yelling…
No matter how frustrated you may get with your students, yelling should never be an option. Although it often works in the moment, the cost of gaining momentary control is much too high.
So instead of being that teacher, the one with the reputation for yelling and for “being mean,” why not be the one that every student wants as their teacher?
To start, create a classroom management plan that works–and stick with it. And then work on building influential relationships with students; the kind of personal leverage that causes them to want to behave.
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