Teaching is a helping profession and an art. People enter the profession hoping to make a difference in their students’ lives. Yet they face a host of social challenges that negatively affect instruction. The outside world constantly impinges on the classroom. Children come to school carrying the burdens of failing families. Teachers are expected to address the psycho-social needs of their students while imparting quality academic instruction. Stress is one of the major reasons that many new teachers leave within the first few years of entering the profession. The Journal of Stress Management maintains “80% of teachers report being severely stressed at work and we’re constantly hearing about teachers who get so stressed that they end up having to quit their jobs – or that they end up having mental breakdowns. The Christian Science Monitor listed the five most stressful jobs in the country. In ascending order, they are : 5) medical interns 4)air traffic controllers 3)miners 2)police officers 1)inner city high school teachers. Yes, they rated teaching at the TOP of the list.
So, who is helping teachers? The challenges are daunting but not insurmountable. Establishing a positive classroom environment that includes positive regard for each student is a first step to maintaining order and providing quality instructional time. Moreover, educators who understand that “conflict is an essential part of growing up will provide a predictable environment with clear limits and expectations, consistency and effective discipline, and adequate supervision.” In doing so they will have more Time to Teach!
As a former public school administrator (assistant principal and principal) I have witnessed many instances in which conflict escalated because a student was disrespectful to a teacher, and that teacher’s response escalated the situation. Using verbal “diffusers” can go a long way to establishing calm and allowing instruction to continue.
As a national trainer for Time To Teach!, I can offer pragmatic solutions to behavior management that can improve and enhance student-teacher interactions, and add weeks of valuable instructional time.