Know your world
I've learned a lot by being a new father. I've learned a lot about myself and I've learned a lot about how to treat my students. I've changed my form since Sophia was born. I've been more patient, I've been more understanding, and I've seen my students as young people that need guidance. I've tried to provide some of the guidance they need. I've always tried to teach beyond just English; now that's taken on a whole new meaning.
Classes can have so many different dynamics, and they can change so much even from day to day. I need to be the one constant... although sometimes I fail, too. Recently, one of my superstar classes has been slipping a bit. It's probably the end of the year slouch, the fact that I've told them they are a great class and they've let their guard down, along with the life of being teenagers. They're bound to act their age (which they so often act more mature than). But last week I hit a breaking point with them and I was in no mood to joke around with them. One of the students, whose strong attitude I usually enjoy, gave her attitude in a less than ideal moment. She and I normally have a very good rapport, but she's been slipping more and more into disrespectful territory. I told her to do her work and she said that I was angry. I quickly jutted back, "Because you're being annoying today." That is very unusual for me. The students all did their work after that and it was a fairly quiet class. They were back in their normal behavior, but not because of who they were; it was because of my forceful hand. I felt bad about that all weekend, contemplating if I should have said that or not.
They came in today and most were normally behaved. The girl came in and she was focused today. She was still herself, but she was respectful and pleasant, as well as focused.
The thing I learned from that is, students appreciate real talk. I had a moment of letting my guard down to this one because I knew she could take it, and she would ultimately appreciate it the same way I appreciate her blunt honesty. She did, and she came back better than before (in my opinion). It may have been a coincidence, but I am a believer in actions and consequences- both good and bad. I also am a believer in people. Most importantly, I am a believer in myself. I can just keep doing what I think is right, and if I do make a mistake and not do the right thing, I have to be strong enough to admit it to myself, and admit it to whoever I wronged. I was worried that I didn't do the right thing, but I realize it was ok. I stood at the door as they left and thanked each one of them for coming as I always do.