Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Use Your Inside Voice

I love a new school year for many reasons.  
One of the best things about a new year is the fresh start.  
As a teacher I get a fresh start and the little guys in my class get a fresh start as well.

Do you have habits as a teacher that you'd like to change or overcome?  
Then, this new school year is your chance!  One of the habits that seems to be a struggle for many teachers is the habit of raising their voice.  Our students can frustrate us over and over.  180 days is a lot of days to be stretched, tried, and pulled by our students.  Sometimes the 10th time of repeating ourselves is all we can take.  And understandably so.  
While I've never been a "yeller" in my classroom,  when my children were younger I struggled with raising my voice in my moments of frustration at home.  
Here's how I conquered that nasty habit and how I transferred the same principles to speak more graciously to my students in my classroom- even in moments of super frustration.

1.   Memorize this verse.  
My main weapon against this bad habit is Proverbs 15:1 "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."  What's interesting about this verse is I found that it wasn't about turning away the anger of the child, but turning away MY anger.  When I used a soft answer, MY frustration level began to diminish.  I say this verse immediately to myself when I begin to feel frustrated.

2.  Whisper.
When I feel myself wanting to raise my voice, I slowly whisper the next sentence or direction.  Lowering my voice immediately calms me and the child.

3.  Choose your words carefully.
A "soft" answer isn't just referring to the noise level-but I believe it's also referring to the our choice of words.  We should only use words and tones with our students that we would want someone else to use with our own children.  Sarcasm does not have a place in our classrooms-no matter the age of the child.

I urge you to try this at school and at home.  And just like a good teacher will tell you, practice, practice, practice, because practice makes progress.

Happy New {School} Year!

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