Picture it; you foolishly played the last card too early, over something comparatively menial. Perhaps you were trying to exert misplaced authority. Perhaps you thought if you got REALLY cross over that accidental pencil snap, NOTHING would ever go wrong ever again. Well my friend, for want of a better phrase, you're wrong.
Believe it or not, we work with the busiest brains, with the least experience. The trouble with trying to make learning exciting, is that you're doing it with the least controllable minds - the little people who can't sleep on the eve of their birthday. They're going to slip up, make mistakes and likely have some regrets. We all do; don't pretend you've never made a silly choice.
That's why I think we should use our experience of life, and the relevant routes we have taken, to teach the children responsibility, by way of managing their behaviour. Let them know of your difficulties, and how you overcame them. Tell them you used to find X, Y and Z hard, and how you practised to get better. Let them know that you also got into trouble, and how you wished you'd paid attention, because 10 years later...
My thoughts started at an NQT course, many years ago, when they told us of a Professional Development idea based on the Boyateis Model.
My interpretation of this starts with the question, "Who do you want to be?" (officially called 'My ideal self'), and I feel like the rest would be self explanatory. You would consider who you want to become, against who you already are; decide what could be changed and then work hard to make it where you want to go.
I watered this down in my second year of teaching, to create a mobile of positive attributes that the children could reference when I asked them the daily question; "Who do you want to be today?" Using lollysticks, although these work just as well, I'd pick 3 pupils at random, and then we'd review at the end of the day. "How were you polite today?", "You said you wanted to be more independent. How did you work to achieve that?"
While these talks were geared towards the benefits of being a hard worker with a positive attitude, they also filtered nicely into managing behaviour and making good choices. That's what I think behaviour management should be all about; making good choices. That's a far more long term impact than screaming at someone.
As a result of this, my first week was essentially planned! I asked my new class to write a letter to their future self. They found it easier than I thought they would.
While many wrote ideas like,
It's use is simple:
Whenever you're having a tough time, finding something too difficult, or you're about to make a silly choice, consider whether it will help you achieve whatever it is you've set out to do.
They're permanently on display, and the children will receive the letter back on the last day of the year.
It's something I thought I would try, and we shall see how it goes.
Using responsibility and choice is something I'm doing a lot of at the moment, as 2 strategies to manage the class and their behaviour. They've been a dream to teach so far, I'll let you know if that changes!
PS. Those little posters at the bottom of the envelopes, are something I made to example how what they learn in school could help them in later life. You can download them below if you're interested.