Thursday, October 7, 2010

Teaching is Like Parenting

Yesterday I subbed for second grade. It was a CTT class, which stands for Collaborative Team Teaching. I had the pleasure of co-teaching another teacher. I was taken aback by how effective she was with the kids. It was quite a large group, 28 of them, and at any given moment there was a child having a difficult time paying attention.

When the kid would "act out" by calling out with out raising their hand, start touching the dry erase board in a distracting way, talking to their friend loudly and other disruptive behaviors, the teacher would calmly and quietly turn to that child and say:

"Joey, take a break."

Joey would quietly confidently walk from the rug (where the rest of the class was sitting) and sit in a seat at an empty table. Then after a minute or so, Joey would meander back to the rug and have a more successful time focusing.

This whole exchange got me thinking about parenting. As a classroom teacher, you are responsible for the well-being of 28 children.

Their well-being encompasses their physical state- making sure they don't harm themselves or another child physically, and their emotional state, making sure they maintain a level of emotional balance. If they are angry sad, or frustrated, allow them to let it out without hurting themselves or another kid in the class.

As a parent, you are responsible for the same things, but your energy is only focused on one child, your own. What I learned, while watching this particular teacher in action, is that staying calm and consistent when dealing with children is effective.

I know, from my experience with Ari, that when I hesitate and question what I'm doing, he senses it and acts out even more. On the other hand, when I am consistent and say "clean up your cars and put them in this box." eventually, after he realizes I am not going to waver or change my mind, he will do what I'm asking of him...most of the time.

Consistency is key.

What techniques do you find effective in parenting or teaching? What do you do when your child acts out?


  1. i agree that consistency is key. patrick (my baby's father) and i agree that no matter where we are in our relationship, we must have a united front when parenting so that we are consistent across the board.

  2. I'm not a parent, but I am an aunt. When the kids come to my house to visit, they know there is a rule. "One toy at a time." If they pick the blocks to play with, they play with the blocks. When they tire of them, they put them away BEFORE they get out another toy. They know that this is how Aunt Debbie rolls. And by golly! they are OK with it. It baffles even their mother (who, bless her heart, runs a day care in the home... mass chaos abounds!). But I think you have hit on the key correctly... consistency. It makes a world of difference. I actually think the kids LIKE that. They PREFER it to anything else. They learn to COUNT ON something, rather than wonder what is gonna happen next.

    :) I always hesitate to speak about parenting, because I am NOT a parent. But I think as women, we all contribute in some small way. At least those of us with a nurturing side do.

  3. Artemis- Consistency is key. I couldn't agree more. When I child sees that you are inconsistent, they run with that.

    Deb- I like that rule! I might have to adopt that in my house!

  4. oh i'm so with you! i used to teach and i always think of classroom management and planning as i harriedly go through my day.

    i found you through scary mommy and am so-very-glad that i did!

  5. Thank you Minnesota Mamaleh! YAY!

    What grade/subject did you teach?

  6. I try to be consistent and most days I am. I think most of us have a good theoretical knowledge of basic parenting techniques, like be consistent, have a routine, lead by example, etc. I read somewhere "I was a better parent before I had kids" and it certainly is the case with me :)


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