Positive Classroom Management

Google's definition of Positivity
Positivity has changed my teaching. Even when students have behaviors that baffle the mind (as occasionally we all do), I am in a good place to handle them. I feel less stressed and more patient and understanding. Am I perfect? No! Of course not. I am better for it though.

I love this video by Dolly Chugh:

I just presented for the first time at TMEA (Texas Music Educators Association). My 2nd session was:

I had so much I wanted to say, and just not enough time.

The full handout can be found here: TMEA 2019 Handout: Empower and Engage with Positive Classroom Management

I was speaking with someone afterwards about some of my favorite ways to hold on to my positivity. I love to sing about it when kids are talking and/or trying to be distracting. I sing some pretty awful songs. 😉 The melodies are either improvised or borrowed from other songs, sometimes the rhymes are sketchy, but I am having fun! So, when they are done with their kid-things – which are normal – they are kids. I am in a good mood, – not yelling at them to be quiet or listen or focus – and I have their attention. (This can also apply to randomly striking poses or keeping the beat – they start to join you – this works particularly well in the younger grades, but it can still work for 5th grade.)

I sometimes just breath. Mini-meditation with the kids there, speaking words of calm in my head. Sometimes I stand like wonder woman. Seriously. This talk from Amy Cuddy about power poses – I tried it, and it totally changes how you feel as you are actively thinking about being poised and in control.

I think if I had to break it down into two main points, it would be these:

Positive Classroom Management Rule 1: Genuinely WANT to have those kids on your class. Find a way to love them and care about them being the best they can be – and hold them to it.

Only then will you be in the frame of mind to focus on whatever it takes to help that kid experience success and/or belonging.

Positive Classroom Management Rule 2: Maintain the positivity in your own mind. Breathe. Celebrate the small steps. Praise ANY progress. These things will bring both you and your students joy. Look for joy wherever you can find it.

Secure your own oxygen mask first.
You can’t take care of the kids in your classroom if you haven’t taken care of yourself first.

We have one of the toughest jobs on the planet. Positivity takes a strong resolve to change your thoughts, heart, and mind. It is not for the faint of heart, but then again, neither is teaching.

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