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Hugs and Horrors

Orianne is a Canadian teacher working through Protocol Education Bristol branch. Classroom behaviour is something we all have to deal with and at times it can be challenging and in her latest blog Orianne shares some lessons she's learnt. 

Hugs and Horrors: The Daily Doses of Sugar and Medicine We Swallow and Dispense

I always felt like I was the kind of teacher who emanated cheerfulness and friendliness when I taught in Canada.  As a student teacher, the only time I ever had to raise my voice was in the gymnasium to be heard calling time-out over bouncing basketballs, or issuing a “two more minutes!” warning during drama rehearsals…and when boys were throwing snow balls at recess, of course. But here, the days I do not have to raise my voice are few and far between.  And I do not like it.

I remember worrying in the beginning, that I was being too harsh, and yet torn when a firm loud voice seemed to be the only thing a child would respond to.  I never assumed the children I raised my voice at and disciplined firmly again and again would be the children the most excited to see me when I visited their classrooms again.  Yet now it is their smiles and hugs that greet me when I enter their school!

I have learned, quite by accident, the value of two practices I unknowingly brought with me into rough classrooms.  The first is being clear to let a child know when you mean business, but also making it clear that after the incident is resolved it is in the past, and your anger is not lingering towards the student.  The second is making it clear to your students that each and every one of them are valued. 

So yes, we may put up with challenging behaviour.  We may even have to be louder than we thought necessary at home in order to deal with it.  But the rewards of the clear belief in a child that they are capable of better, and the sealing of this belief with expressions of their value to you, their teacher, can have more of an impact than we realize.  A hug, a joke, or even a friendly conversation with “that kid” can be the grain of rice that tips the scale and makes them realize that they are not, in fact, the bad kid, but a child who is valued as much as any other.  And that lesson can be the most valuable one they ever learn in school.

Read more blogs on how to deal with classroom behaviour:


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Tags: Orianne, Canadian-trained, behaviour, challenging, questions, approach, hugs, uncomfortable,

Category: Australian Teachers

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