The MEGnitude of Change

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 19 2012

The Mood/Management Anomaly: how good moods can lead to sloppy management

I am too nice. I am too lenient, and I have too great of a tolerance for shenanigans in the classroom. I had a very solid week in my classroom last week, and I became a little too comfortable. I let my students get away with a little too much. And this week, it’s showing. I knew this fact all too well , and during my fifth and sixth period classes, I could no longer deny it. And thanks to a visit of one of my students after school, I am finding resolve to continue deal with the uncomfortable business of classroom management.

One of my students stepped into my classroom — one who seemed pretty checked out at the beginning of the year but has started to perk up & do work in recent weeks. We talked about his past experiences with math teachers (both bad & good), and I found that math comes naturally to him. He checks out but still scores well on exams. Recently, he’s been starting to find his place in the classroom by answering questions on the board & showcasing his knowledge. He also confirmed the sneaky thought I had in the back of my head — that I am too nice. That I am too lenient with my students, and that I need to crack down on more behavior if I expect my students to succeed.

No teacher wants to admit this ugly truth, let alone have to grapple with it with a student. In some ways, this conversation could feel like a huge failure — even my students are aware of my weaknesses in classroom management.

Once I get past that discomfort, however, I’m starting to see something new. My student cares enough about learning & this class (&, to a degree, me as a teacher) to speak out and ask for stronger management. He wants to be there, and he wants a good learning environment. He’s taking proactive steps, and I’m proud of him for that.

Strong management skills don’t just make a teacher’s life easier; they enable students to learn. Everyone leaves class feeling a little bit better. Tomorrow and Friday, that will be my focus — meaning business each day in the classroom. Working hard. My tolerance is too high, and it’s time to tighten it back up.

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My journey in mathematics and beyond

High School

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