Are You a Tough Teacher? Research Shows You May Be More Effective (Opinion)
In her role as a behavioral scientist, Angela Duckworth provides advise to teachers that is based on scientific study. I keep a tight rein on things in my classroom, but it doesn’t endear me to my kids at all. When it comes to learning, how crucial is likeability to a person? Teacher who is both tough and kind is feasible, and I wrote about this issue recently atCharacter Lab as aTip of the Week: How to Be a Tough Yet Kind Teacher. Everyone despised Mrs. Farren as the 8th grade English teacher, and she was no exception.
Because, as fate would have it, it fell to me to spend a year with Mrs.
Furthermore, it had been a long year.
Was it a dread of the unknown?
- But it was most definitely a realization that what you were about to go through—50 minutes of English class—was going to be really, extremely difficult.
- Farren would make eye contact with each of her 30 students, even if it was only for a few seconds, even before the bell sounded.
- She loved it when I laid my homework assignment flat on the desk, so I thought that as she went by, she would look down and nod approvingly at what she saw.
- There was a distinct sense of urgency in the air from the minute the bell rung for the following class until it did so again.
- Farren’s instruction, was like training for a fight or piloting an airplane.
- I once made the mistake of moaning about a movie I’d seen the weekend before shortly before class started, and it cost me a lot of points.
- Farren inquired, her brows knit together in skepticism.
“Be cautious in how you employ it.” I took a step back.
“I didn’t care for the movie at all.” When I calibrated my words, Mrs.
I learned the hard way, error after mistake, that language is powerful and that it is my responsibility to master it.
Like other professors, I am evaluated by my students immediately following the completion of a course with me, and like most professors, I want my students to like me.
In one research, students at the United States Air Force Academy who were randomly allocated to various instructors in basic core subjects gave lower ratings to the professors who improved their performance the most in later advanced coursework, according to the findings.
This tendency was particularly evident among weaker students.
It’s simple to fall in love with a professor who thinks everything you do is fantastic.
Despite this, I still want to be liked by my pupils, and I believe it is possible for a tough teacher to be helpful as well.
Do share your experiences with the young people in your life about a teacher, coach, or mentor who helped you take your game to a higher level.
Farren in your life who you have come to respect in ways that you could not have imagined at the time.
Angela Duckworth is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and the founder and CEO of the education nonprofitCharacter Lab.
Character Lab may be found on Twitter at @TheCharacterLab, where you can interact with them.
It is the author(sexclusive )’s responsibility to express their own perspectives, and they do not represent or endorse the views or opinions of Editorial Projects in Education, its publications, and/or any other entity.
Tough teacher vs. mean teacher
As a result, I’m known as a “difficult instructor.” However, I make an effort not to be a “nasty instructor.” They’re also not the same at all, either! A rigorous teacher is motivated by a desire to see his or her students succeed. A cruel instructor is acting out of annoyance, anxiety, and ego, among other things. Let me be clear: no one has the intention of becoming a bad instructor. Frustration, burnout, and a lack of support from your studio are just a few of the factors that might lead to you being aggressive rather than forceful in your approach.
- As Dolly Parton sung, we must “shine, polish, design” in order to succeed.
- Every time I see myself digging in my heels, I (finally) take a moment to think on what I could have done differently the first time.
- I’m unable to do anything about it.
- $ @!, and so forth.
- However, as a teacher, it is my responsibility to keep trying.
- Yes, there are moments when tough love is necessary, but it’s crucial to take a step back and consider if you’re behaving out of love or impatience.
- I’m not flawless, and there are certain difficulties that I haven’t figured out yet (and there always will be).
Are my activities based on logic?
Do you think I’m taking this too personally?
Which do you prefer: logical outcomes or arbitrary statutes and regulations?
As a result, they are unable to dance because they do not have appropriate dancing attire or because they have missed a portion of the warm-up.
This is an irrational result.
This is not a logical result; rather, it is arbitrary (it also depicts conditioning as a punishment, which is problematic; however, that is an other issue altogether.) If you are forcing kids to do something just as a result of a punishment rather than as a consequence of internal reasoning, you should rethink your method.
- Furthermore, no one, not adults, not children, not anybody, appreciates regulations that make no sense.
- This is something I’m guilty of, and I find myself doing it more often than I’d want.
- One-third of the students didn’t show up for class.
- This might have made more sense if it had been preparation for a performance dance or if there had been a greater number of distracted children; but, it wasn’t and there weren’t any.
- It sapped the life force from the room, and class became a chore as a result of it.
My feelings were hurt, their feelings were hurt, and the battements’ feelings were hurt. Was there anything else I could have done? I wish I had explored some of the many alternative possibilities that were accessible to me, such as:
- Running the practice merely a couple more times, and without the “you have disappointed me” tone, would be sufficient
- Nevertheless, Dropping down a level, having everyone utilize the wall to practice their battements, or even reviewing how to cross the floor are all possible options. Assigning a partner who was skilled at timing to the struggling pupils and having them practice for two minutes (maybe while holding hands or connecting arms)
- In order to ensure that the challenging students were not all grouped together, I changed up my groups. Accepting that things weren’t going well today and moving forward, certain that things would improve over time
- Changing my approach to using the space (more on that later)
Honestly, I don’t think much good came of these lengthy minutes, and it’s possible that I caused more irritation than musicality. Their battements have improved, but not as a result of that day; rather, it is as a result of the additional time and practice they have had. And, potentially as a result of the adjustment I did end up making in the following session, the next class ended up being better. So, what exactly did I do? I adjusted my approach to how I used the space. Previously, I had them moving from stage right to stage left across the floor in groups of three across the floor (which is honestly a lot to ask of a newer and bigger beginning class).
- That’s not good at all!
- We practiced traveling “across the floor” in this new technique that we had learned (we walked downstage in our lines, practiced going to the sides and filling in again at the back).
- They had a less intimidating area to cover, and they were able to look themselves (and their classmates) in the eyes when they looked in the mirror.
- It isn’t meant to be taken personally.
- The likelihood is that if you are really frustrated that your kids aren’t accomplishing things, you will take this personally.
- Kids are, by their very nature and design, highly self-absorbed individuals.
- Accept that your teaching ego may be contributing to your feelings of frustration (e.g., “why can’t they appreciate me?”; “why aren’t they learning—I worked hard on this;” “am I not good enough?”); and take steps to resolve the situation.
- It is not in the best interests of you or the kids.
- It simply means that you have the opportunity to develop as an instructor and try something new!
- One of the most enjoyable aspects of our profession is the fact that everything is always changing!
- In the end, your pupils will reap the benefits, and you will have earned significant educational experience in the process.
It’s a Really Tough Time for Teachers
For many instructors, this year has been the most difficult they have ever experienced. Over the following several weeks, we’ll be attempting to provide ideas and free resources in order to help folks get over the hump of a difficult situation. Hannah Solomon, a member of Team TLAC, has written the first post on the subject. Working in a school is quite difficult at the moment. Pre-Covid, the responsibilities of a teacher or school administrator extended well beyond the confines of the school day.
- However, we recognized that writing and prepping lessons, developing meaningful relationships with 25 to 125 young people, building classroom community, and coordinating communication with families would sometimes take more time than the hours in a school day would permit.
- And for the most part, we were successful.
- Or at least that’s how it felt at the time.
- According to the United States Department of Education, shortages of teachers were reported in nearly all 50 states for the 2020-2021 school year.
- It felt so fantastic to be back at the beginning.
- Teaching assistants who wish they could spend more time preparing their courses are instead responsible for covering classes outside of their subject area and grade level.
- All of this is occurring at a time when student needs are increasing in number and severity.
Being back in school is challenging because of the worry and time away from it caused by the absence.
For the most part, many instructors are going right up to the edge of the “impossible” and shouting out for assistance.
What is the best way for a school leader to respond in a way that acknowledges the struggle, recognizes the effort, and motivates fatigued educators to do their absolute best – and possibly even go above and beyond – for the wonderful children in front of them?
It is not enough for school administrators to regularly remind educators of the significance of this time in education and the necessity of fixing the learning that has been lost as a result of the epidemic, as they have done in the past.
The team’s goal is to assist teachers and leaders in resolving the complex difficulties that face them in our industry by providing simple and concrete answers.
We hope you will find this information useful. First and foremost, we are glad to make the following five TLAC Online modules available for free usage for the next six weeks:
- What to Do
- Creating Radar
- Being Seen Looking
- What to Do
- The use of nonverbal interventions
- The use of two key spoken reminders
Because of the overwhelming reaction to these free modules, we’ve decided to keep them available for instructors to use for free at least through the end of the month of January.] These five 15-minute lessons, which have been completely rewritten to comply with the content of TLAC 3.0, provide teachers with practical ways for developing a seamless and good classroom culture right away. If you’re a teacher who finds themselves spending more time than you’d like repeating directions rather than delving deeper into topic, these resources may be beneficial to your students.
Stay tuned for our next post, in which we will make a whole unit of our Reading curriculum available for free in the aim of alleviating the strain placed on reading instructors by the Common Core.
We hope that this series of “free solutions” at the very least provides you with a little bit more time as well as a useful collection of tools to help you make the most of the valuable time you spend with your kids every day.
7 Ways Teachers Can Get through a Tough Day during Tough Times
Teachers have reported that remote learning, hybrid learning, and teaching in-person during a pandemic have all been extremely difficult. Teachers have had to discover creative strategies to stay going in the face of these unique circumstances. Teachers have suffered as a result of endless preparation, teaching in front of black screens, learning new technologies, and being subjected to unrelenting criticism. At the conclusion of a really difficult day, I find myself crying more frequently than at any previous point in my 26-year teaching career.
Here are some suggestions and tactics for getting through those difficult and trying days.
1. Create a “Tough Day Survival Plan”
Determine what definitely must be done and then go ahead and do it. If you neglect this stage, you will find yourself continuously second-guessing what you should be doing, and you may find yourself unable to relax as well. Read on for more information: Teacher burnout may be avoided in a number of ways (Infographic) Consider experimenting with some of these stress relievers:
- Getting a Sense of Nature: Getting a sense of nature during a pandemic is frequently challenging. For some, this may entail curling up under a blanket and enjoying a steaming cup of cocoa on their porch. Spending a few minutes hiding beneath a tree and looking at the grass may suffice. It may even be as simple as driving to your favorite location and staring out the window. Nature is incredible in its ability to restore health. Get some exercise (or don’t): Exercise has been shown to be an effective stress-relieving strategy. If you have the energy, an exercise will be beneficial. If you are unable to do so, cuddling up on the sofa with a nice book will suffice. When you’re struggling, let your family and friends know: If you’re a parent or caregiver, you may not have the luxury of being able to curl up with a book or relax on your porch. With family members, having an agreed-upon “difficult day survival strategy” helps ensure that your spouse takes up the slack when you’re feeling low, and that you can reciprocate when they’re feeling sad. In addition, children who are old enough to grasp the idea can assist
- Maintain moderation: When you’re having a horrible day, the first thing you want to do is indulge: in fried food, chocolate, or two or three of those cartons of wine that have been sitting in the fridge. Try to keep this impulse at bay. Over time, you’ll only feel worse as a result of your actions.
2. Understand That You Can’t Do Everything, So STOP TRYING
My school is now operating in a remote environment. That meant I had to learn how to manage all of the Google products—Drive, Docs, Slides, Forms, Meet, and Classroom—as well as Zoom, in a very short period of time, which was challenging. Teachers should concentrate on what they can do effectively during these exceptional times, not on what they can’t. Sometimes in meetings or on the internet, I hear my colleagues talking about utilizing apps like Padlet or Choice, and I feel like I should be doing the same.
I discovered that I am capable of doing so utilizing the skills I have learned at this time. It is not necessary to be well-versed in every subject to be successful.
3. Learn the McKenzie Method
You’re going to thank me for this one. The McKenzie Method is a set of exercises developed by physical therapist Robin McKenzie to help people suffering from back pain find relief from their symptoms. When I was suffering from a severe case of sciatica, I came upon these exercises, and they completely transformed my life. Currently, I perform them multiple times a day in between Zoom sessions. The first three exercises in the method—laying down, lying face down in extension, and extension in lying—are all that are required.
They’ll make it easier for you to decompress, unwind, and regroup.
4. Clean up Your Work Area
According to a recent piece in Harvard Business Review, “When our place is a mess, so are we.” This is absolutely correct. Anxiety and tension can be exacerbated by cluttered environments. When it comes to our cognition, emotions, and behavior, the Harvard Business Review discovered that “Physical settings greatly influence our decision-making and interactions with others.” So, if you’re having a rough day, it could be worth it to take a few minutes to clean up. Even though it’s probably the last thing you want to do after a long day, it may be really beneficial in recovering from a difficult day.
5. Connect with People Who Lift You Up
We all have friends that will always have our backs, no matter how difficult the circumstance may be. Folks like this are never Debbie Downers; rather, they are people who continually lift us back up when we feel as though we are drowning. When you’re feeling sad, think about the buddy who knows exactly what to say to lift your spirits—the one who will point out your recent successes or who will make you laugh at a difficult circumstance. Anyone may benefit from having a go-to buddy who can provide moral support when you need it the most.
6. Mute Everyone and Everything
Especially if you’re having a bad day, the “noise” may be quite distracting. Turn down the volume on your cousin’s conversation about baking sourdough bread from scratch and putting a deck on the back of her home. Turn down the volume on the politics. Mute the “How to Look Better on Zoom” videos on the YouTube channel. Delete the email and mute it. All of it should be muted.
7. Have a Good Cry If You Need It
According to Medical News Today, weeping causes the production of oxytocin and endorphins, which are hormones that may make you feel good while also alleviating both physical and mental pain. Crying also has the added benefit of releasing stress chemicals that have been stored in tears, so lowering tension. So go ahead and cry your eyes out if you’re in the mood. When it comes to this one, science is on your side. Read on for more information: Obtaining assistance is one of the most effective classroom management techniques.
The good news is that there are certain things you can do to make those difficult days a little bit more bearable. Having a strategy for how you’ll triage yourself can be quite beneficial!
How to be both tough and supportive in the classroom (opinion)
Deborah J. Cohan says that strong professors feel it is worthwhile to hold their students to high standards and that they can, in fact, be both harsh and helpful in the classroom. Several of my students have described me as a bullshit detector and a straight shooter – that is, someone who doesn’t sugarcoat the facts and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. I consider these to be compliments. They are admirable qualities to possess, and maybe even more so at this time, considering the present atmosphere of higher education and the broader societal context in which they exist.
- The subject of prickly women in academe was recently mentioned in an opinion piece in Inside Higher Ed, which highlighted the assets that they offer to the life of the institution and the direction of the institution.
- “Prickly women cut through the intellectual crap and prevarication that keeps higher education spinning its wheels instead of moving forward,” the authors write.
- Prickly professors know when to call bullshit with their students, and they are able to manage this confrontation compassionately because they are bound by ethical principles that are frequently overlooked.
- The problem is that there has long been a notion in higher education – particularly at teaching-intensive institutions with a higher proportion of underprivileged and underprepared students – that instructors must meet students where they are.
- But what exactly does that imply these days?
- When a colleague says that I set the bar too high and that I should be more lenient with students, and that I should teach in a way that is accessible to all of them, what is the message being conveyed?
He is referring to the way in which I deal with the worst-performing students, those who are failing many of their classes, not just mine – those who are plagiarizing, missing three to five weeks of a semester, being overly needy with excessive emails, or being disruptive in class and needing to be removed.
- Finally, I was able to inform that colleague about the student who received a 46 on her first examination.
- She claimed that she didn’t have any additional notes and that she hadn’t even attempted to study the syllabus or get her hands on the textbooks.
- “Can you imagine what would happen if you completed every task?” I informed her that I couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to help her unless she took the initiative to do it for herself.
- I asked her then what she would have done differently and what she would say to future pupils and to myself if we were in a similar position in the future.
- Is this the sort of student we should be encouraging to meet them where they are and for whom we should alter our lessons to match their needs?
- Of course, some professors are unable to be, or are perceived to be unable to be, hard-asses and badasses owing to structural restrictions, such as being contingent faculty or being concerned about tenure and promotion choices, while others are able to be and are perceived to be.
- It may not be a part of their personality for some people.
However, based on my more than 20 years of experience as a teacher, I propose the following for individuals who are ready to release their inner badass.
This past semester, I discovered that a student whom I had taught for three classes had plagiarized.
When she responded to my email with a question about what I was talking about, I was honest with her.
I simply asked her, “What would you do if you were in my shoes with you?” as a means to encourage her to take on more responsibility in the relationship.
I’ve also referred to crap in front of entire classrooms.
Later, I issued an email to all of the students, expressing my disappointment at what I had observed and informing them that I had conducted a second round of attendance after the break.
Increase your expectations, particularly for pupils’ written work.
You pushed me and recognized I was capable of producing better work than what I had previously submitted.
As an alternative to awarding high scores, you should evaluate fairly and offer the criticism necessary to encourage a student to produce better work.” Create the circumstances that will allow pupils to locate the answers on their own if they so want.
“I remember the first day I asked you a question, and you just showed me your mug that reads, ‘It’s in the syllabus,'” one student wrote to me.
You’re also a really kind and fair lecturer; your door is always open, and you’re always willing to provide a listening ear as well as provide excellent advise, assistance, or expertise.” Create a curriculum that conveys your pedagogical as well as personal ideals and expectations to students and colleagues.
- My document was referred to as a “course welcome document” by one of my students.
- Examples include a sense of mindfulness of the full person conveyed via my syllabus – both the whole person of the student as well as the whole person of myself as the instructor – and the revelation that excellent teaching is about the ability to be connected.
- Students’ objections concerning grades should not be ignored.
- We all know that some pupils will be disappointed if they do not receive an A.
- Students should not be allowed to merely go through the motions.
- Make it a requirement that pupils think for themselves.
An alumnus recently shared his thoughts, saying, “We had spoken about how people in online classes tend to basically go through the motions of reading a chapter, answering a question, and responding in an agreeable manner with two classmates for ‘conversation’ on several occasions.” I became the culpable individual about whom we had a discussion with one of the newspapers.
- You informed me that my grade was lower because you saw that I needed to work more.
- I constantly push myself to achieve my very best in whatever I’m doing at the time.
- “I really strive to walk that delicate line with my coworkers, and you were instrumental in instilling that in me.” Provide an example of critical thinking.
- This encourages people to think about their views in depth before expressing them to others.
- When I interrupt a lecture in the middle of a paragraph to question a student sitting at the back of a big classroom on a smartphone, students are sometimes taken aback.
- “It was great not having electronics in class,” one student wrote.
- It instills a sense of decency and accountability.
The following is an email I received from a student after taking my class: “Although your harsh love felt unjust at times when we were all drowning in school work, we can all look back and chuckle and praise your hard ass because you taught us so much about life.” I recall one particular occasion when I was directly subjected to your rough love.
I had begun to fall short of my own expectations of myself as a writer and as a committed student.
It was as though you were already aware of what was going on.
That day, I came away from it with a newfound respect for your degree of attentiveness as a lecturer and your desire to listen and comprehend as a friend.” The most important thing is to keep asking the difficult questions in class.
“Some people may refer to you as a hard-ass, but I refer to you as a professor who accessed a region of my brain that had been dormant,” said another of my students. The way you challenged my thinking and opened my eyes to a slew of things I’d never considered before was invaluable.”
Times Are Tough. Asking Teachers to Get Tougher Isn’t the Answer.
As Deborah J. Cohan explains, strong teachers feel that it is worthwhile to push their students to high standards, and that they may be both harsh and helpful in the classroom. According to my kids, I am a bullshitting detector and a straight shooter who doesn’t sugarcoat the facts and can be a hard-ass when it comes to dealing with bullshit. It is a great honor to get such remarks. They are admirable qualities to possess, and maybe even more so at this time, considering the present atmosphere of higher education and the broader social landscape in which they exist.
The subject of prickly women in academe was recently mentioned in an opinion piece in Inside Higher Ed, which highlighted the assets that they offer to the life of the institution and the direction of the organization.
According to the authors, prickly women “cut through the intellectual crap and prevarication that keeps higher education spinning its wheels rather than moving forward.” It is pointed out later that the prickly female faculty members are “full of empathy, enthusiasm, and concern” for their students.
- Prickly professors know when to call bullshit with their students, and they are able to manage this confrontation compassionately because they are bound by ethical principles that are occasionally neglected by their pupils.
- But the problem is that there has long been an attitude among many in higher education – particularly those in teaching-intensive institutions with a significant proportion of disadvantaged and underprepared students – that educators must meet students where they are.
- That is, however, no longer meaningful.
- Consequently, when a colleague tells me that I am setting the bar too high for pupils, and that I should make learning more accessible to all of them, what exactly is being communicated here?
She is referring to the way in which I deal with the worst-performing students, those who are failing many of their classes, not just mine – those who are plagiarizing, missing three to five weeks of a semester, being overly needy with excessive emails, or being disruptive in class and needing to be removed.
- Finally, I was able to inform that colleague about the kid who got a 46 on her first exam.
- When I asked her about her notes, she revealed without a trace that she hadn’t studied the syllabus or gotten hold of the books.
- What would happen if you did everything?
- Until she began to assist herself, I informed her that I would be unable to and would not be able to assist her.
- She accepted my invitation.
- She finally conceded that I’d done everything I could and that all she needed to do now was put in the effort – and that once she did, she discovered that the subject was actually rather intriguing and made her want to study even more.
- Alternatively, do we place our faith and value in hard-working colleagues who refuse to create a mockery of higher education by producing outcomes such as those that occurred with this particular student.
However, this is not the case for all professors.
Many individuals are unable to do so since it is not a part of their nature.
After more than two decades of teaching, though, I have some recommendations for individuals who are ready to release their inner hard-ass: Students should be called out on their BS.
I marked her paper with a zero and inquired as to what had occurred.
In my conversation with her, I informed her that I genuinely enjoy and care about her, as well as trust that she similarly likes and cares about me, and that she could not get away with what she had attempted to do.
Eventually, she admitted her guilt.
It was reported last year that during group presentations that took place during the final exam time, about half of the class did not come back after the break to hear what their classmates had to say.
I received thank you notes from the students who had remained.
“I learned how to write because of you!” said a former student from 16 years ago who is now an academic adviser at a university.
You just demand more from your pupils because you are aware of their ability.
Not even every inquiry must be answered.
As a professor, you’re also a very kind and fair person; your door is always open, and you’re always willing to provide a listening ear as well as provide excellent advise, assistance, or expertise.
Set out a curriculum that is not punishing.
It is possible to achieve great results by combining tenderness with force.
“The connections created by effective instructors are held not in their techniques, but in their hearts – meaning heart in its ancient definition, the point where intellect, emotion, spirit, and will intersect in the human self,” explains educator Parker Palmer.
Each and every point on the grading scale will be filled with complaints.
As much as possible, I attempt to emphasize that just completing tasks and ticking off boxes on a rubric properly does not imply that the work is of higher quality – which is why rubrics, evaluation, and other metrics are frequently incorrect.
It is vital to maintain rigidity while radiating warmth.
You must avoid allowing college to become merely another testing atmosphere where students are taught to pass exams.
After reading one of the papers, I became the guilty party that we had been talking about.
You informed me that my grade was lower because you recognized that I needed to push myself more difficult tasks.
This is a difficult balance to achieve, and I’ll be honest: not all college students will appreciate your efforts in this area.
Everybody should be allowed to express their thoughts, but only if they are able to back them up.
Make an examination of your connection with technology and what it implies for your classroom.
Students have thanked me for this on several occasions.
“It was great not having electronics in class,” one student commented.
It instills a sense of decency and accountability.
The fact that students are experiencing real difficulties does not negate the need of being compassionate and supportive during these times.
You had been aware, over a period of a few weeks, that my work had fallen short of my highest expectations.
It was impossible not to reveal everything about my family circumstances when you brought me into your office.
I’m sure you saw I needed a buddy, a mentor, and a pep talk when you offered your assistance.
Keeping the difficult questions coming up in class is essential.
“Some may refer to you as a hardass, but I refer to you as a professor who entered a section of my brain that had been dormant,” said another. The way you challenged my thinking and opened my eyes to a slew of things I’d never considered before was truly amazing.
We Need to Examine the Systems Contributing to Teacher Burnout
Deborah J. Cohan contends that strong professors feel it is worthwhile to hold their students to high standards, and that they can, in fact, be both harsh and helpful in the classroom. Several of my students have described me as a bullshit detector and a straight shooter – that is, someone who doesn’t sugarcoat the facts and isn’t afraid to call it like it is. These are meant as compliments. They are admirable qualities to possess, and maybe even more so at this time, considering the present atmosphere of higher education and the greater social landscape.
- The subject of prickly women in academe was recently mentioned in an opinion piece in Inside Higher Ed, which highlighted the virtues that they offer to the life of the institution and its destiny.
- “Prickly women cut through the intellectual crap and prevarication that keeps higher education spinning its wheels instead of moving forward,” write the authors.
- We sorely need an ethical compass, and they are led by one.” My goal in this article is to explain why we must also recognize the significance of being abrasive instructors for our pupils.
- They feel it is worthwhile to hold their pupils – as well as themselves – to greater expectations.
- It’s widely accepted as the appropriate response to assertions of teaching philosophy, in interviews, and in meetings.
- Is it possible that we’ve gone a little too far, especially when we have pupils who aren’t even meeting us halfway?
- To be clear, we are not discussing concerns of accessibility for students with impairments.
Similarly, I will not pass a student who is failing in order for her to graduate, and I will not be hesitant to deliver a zero to a work that deserves it.
My office in mid-February, I asked to see her notebook, and barely a third of a page had been filled with notes from the first week of school in mid-January, when she came into my office.
“Wow, you got a 46 doing that?” I said, a grin on my face.
I informed her that I could not and would not be able to assist her until she began to assist herself.
I then inquired as to what she would have done differently and what she would advise future students and myself in a similar circumstance.
I was relieved.
Alternatively, should we place our faith and value in hardworking colleagues who refuse to create a mockery of higher education by producing outcomes such as those that occurred with this particular student?
However, this is not the case for all professors.
Some people may not consider it to be a part of their personality.
However, based on my more than 20 years of experience as a teacher, I propose the following for individuals who are able to unleash their inner hardass.
This past semester, I uncovered a student who had previously taken three of my classes plagiarizing.
When she responded to my email with a question about what I meant, I was honest with her.
I simply asked her, “What would you do if you were in my shoes with you?” as a means of encouraging her to take on more responsibility.
I’ve also called BS in front of entire classrooms.
A few days later, I issued an email to all of the students, expressing my disappointment at what I had observed and informing them that I had conducted a second round of attendance after the break.
Raise your expectations for pupils’ writing, in particular.
You pushed me and recognized I was capable of producing better work than what I had handed in.
As an alternative to awarding high scores, you should evaluate fairly and provide students the feedback they need in order to produce better work.” Create the settings that will allow pupils to discover the answers on their own.
“I recall the first day I asked you a question, and you just showed me your mug that reads, ‘It’s in the syllabus,'” a student wrote to me.
You’re also a very kind and fair professor; your door is always open, and you’re always willing to provide a listening ear as well as provide excellent advise, assistance, or expertise.
Create a syllabus that is not punishing.
The mix of kindness and strength may be really effective.
“The connections created by outstanding instructors are held not in their techniques but in their hearts – meaning heart in its ancient definition, the point where intellect, emotion, spirit, and will intersect in the human self,” explains educator Parker Palmer.
They will express dissatisfaction at every point on the grading scale.
As much as possible, I attempt to emphasize that just completing work and ticking the boxes on a rubric properly does not imply that the work is of higher quality – which is why rubrics, evaluation, and other metrics are often inaccurate.
Maintaining formality while radiating warmth is a positive trait.
Don’t allow college to become just another setting where students are taught to the exam.
I became the culpable individual about whom we had a conversation with one of the newspapers.
You informed me that my grade was lower because you saw I needed to work harder.
“Simply going through the motions in my professional job does not result in my completing a single task.
Being tough while yet being fair is a difficult balance to achieve, and, to be honest, not all college students will like it.
Allow everyone to express their thoughts, but only if they are able to back them up.
Consider your connection with technology and what that means for your classroom.
Students have expressed their gratitude to me for this.
One of the girls even got up and left class because she was so unhappy, but I appreciated you for not giving up on her.
“It’s a must in college!” All of this does not exclude you from being compassionate and supportive when kids are experiencing genuine difficulties.
I recall one particular instance in which I was directly subjected to your severe love.
I had begun to fall short of my potential as a writer and as a committed student.
It seemed as though you already understood what I was talking about.
I recall leaving that day with a renewed admiration for your level of attentiveness as a professor and your desire to listen and understand as a friend.” The most important thing is to keep asking difficult questions in class.
“Some may refer to you as a hard-ass, but I refer to you as a professor who entered a section of my brain that had been dormant,” said another. The way you challenged my thinking and opened my eyes to a slew of things I’d never explored before.”
- First and foremost, we require the assistance of our parents. Burnout is a serious problem that many families have faced when working and studying from home. Parents’ cooperation is needed to re-establish some guidelines for children so that they can be better prepared for school success. While we understand that family rules were relaxed or even abandoned during COVID (my own home felt like the Wild West by August 2020), teachers like me need parents’ cooperation to re-establish some guidelines so that children can be better equipped for school success. The importance of adequate sleep, screen time limits, and practicing basic self-care routines such as getting dressed and going to the bathroom are all important for our youngest learners.
- As a starting point, we require the assistance of our parents. Work and studying from home can cause burnout, which many families have experienced firsthand. Parents’ cooperation is needed to re-establish some guidelines so that children can be better prepared for school success. While we understand that family rules were relaxed or even abandoned during COVID (my own home felt like the Wild West by August 2020), teachers like me rely on parents’ cooperation to re-establish some guidelines so that children can be better prepared for school success. The need of adequate sleep, screen time limits, and practicing basic self-care routines such as getting dressed and going to the bathroom is particularly important for our youngest learners.
- Third, district leaders should re-engage with what is going on in classrooms and give direct assistance to teachers who are struggling. Hundreds of educational professionals serve in administrative capacities in every district, including mine, including principals, curriculum coordinators, coaches, student resource leaders, and others. We are all aware of the pressing need to close the gaps that COVID has created in our society. For those of us who are in contact with kids on a daily basis, the situation is much different than for them. What may appear to be beneficial on paper is not always beneficial in the moment. What if, for the remainder of the school year, each administrator took a break from their desk and stepped into a classroom to give assistance to a teacher on a regular basis? If the teacher needs to take a restroom break, they might keep an eye on the class or offer to accompany a wiggly student for a stroll. They could even lead a small group exercise. In addition to helping teachers feel noticed and supported, those brief minutes of interaction might serve as a very real and crucial reality check for administrators about what their teachers are going through every day.
By asking instructors what they require, we are not only assisting them, but we are assisting their pupils as well. This school year, we all want children to succeed and achieve their goals. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the professionals who teach, inspire, and empower kids on a daily basis receive the appropriate assistance.
5 Things To Do When Teaching Feels Tough
I’ve heard some instructors remark that they enjoy teaching.but that they also find it difficult at times. And it is something I can identify to. 100 percent of the time. There is nothing more rewarding than witnessing a child’s “lightbulb” go off in his or her mind. As well as establishing ties with my pupils and their families whenever possible. A pleasant giggle at something amusing and lovely a youngster said is another possibility. All of the obligations of becoming a teacher, on the other hand, might seem daunting.
During the school day, we never seem to have enough time for planning, let alone time to breathe.
Teaching is a rewarding job, but it can also be quite difficult at times.
Photographs courtesy of Ermolaev Alexander and Shutterstock
It’s so easy to get caught up in what we haven’t accomplished (hello, never-ending to-do list) that we lose sight of all the wonderful things that have happened. However, if we just concentrate on the bad aspects of life, it becomes extremely difficult to persevere through the difficult times. So take some time to think about what you’re proud of and write it down. These might be personal or professional accomplishments that you’ve made in your life. These may not even be tangible achievements or things that you have physically done in order to achieve them.
You are valuable and deserving of respect, regardless of how much or how little you have accomplished.
Perhaps you could:
- Write in your journal about the things that you are proud of and grateful for
- Make a list of your successes on a piece of sticky note paper. Picture everything (student development, your classroom, etc.) and put it on display. Talk to a friend or family member about your accomplishments (this is especially beneficial if you have a history of complaining!)
- The collection of letters, photographs, and comments from students and coworkers to form a “feel good” box
Recognizing your accomplishments can also assist you in reconnecting with your why. Even when things are going well, it’s easy to lose sight of the reasons behind our actions. So don’t forget to rejoice with your friends and family.
Seek Out Support
Teaching may be an isolated profession at times. We’re sometimes the only adults in the room for the whole day! As a result, developing a support network is critical. We can’t do this on our own! The people around you, including your colleagues and coworkers, family and friends, and even groups on social media (such as my Facebook group for teachers) are all excellent resources for finding support. Reaching out may be a frightening experience at times. However, revealing your emotions and challenges might really make people feel more connected to you.
You’ll also discover that you’re absolutely not alone in what you’re going through. Teaching is a demanding profession, therefore we must seek out – and rely on – support structures to help us succeed.
Engage in Self Care
If you’ve ever heard the statement, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” you’re probably familiar with it. It’s possible that this is a cliché. However, it is completely correct. Caring for people is something that comes easily to me. Many times, I put the needs of others ahead of my own considerations. And everything is lovely and dandy until. I’m starting to feel worn out.? However, we should not wait until we are exhausted before taking care of ourselves. Consider the following scenario: Would you want to prevent getting a burn by avoiding touching the stovetop?
To be honest, I’d prefer avoid the burn altogether if I could help it.
Here are a few suggestions:
- If you’ve ever heard the statement, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” then you’ve probably heard it before too. The following statement may be too generalized. However, it is unquestionably valid. Caring for others is something that I naturally do for others. It happens to me rather frequently that I put other people’s needs ahead of mine. Until then, everything is lovely and dandy. I’m starting to feel burnt out. Take care of yourself before you feel like you have nothing left to give to others. Consider the following scenario: Would you want to avoid a burn by avoiding touching the stovetop? Alternatively, would you like to treat a burn after it has been caused by your finger? I’m not sure about you, but I’d rather avoid the burn altogether! Making self-care a habit will help you feel better about yourself over time. Some suggestions are as follows:
What constitutes “appropriate” self-care is whichever activities “fill your cup.” For self-care ideas, I have a long list of suggestions that you may do both at home and at school. You may claim your gift by clicking on this link.
According to the authors, “Reflective thinking encourages educators to behave consciously and carefully rather than randomly and reactively” (Shandomo, 2010). When it comes to planning for instruction, we instructors are always reflecting. “What went well?” or “What do I need to do differently in the next lesson?” are some of the questions we ask ourselves. This is incredible. Moreover, guess what? This is something we can apply to our personal life as well. Sometimes I’m just a ball of energy, going nowhere fast.
- Here’s an example: I was finding myself feeling frazzled throughout the whole day, from beginning to end.
- I needed to allow myself extra time in the morning to get my bearings before the day began.
- I’ll either A) write about the difficulty in my diary, or B) go on a solitary stroll and mentally investigate the topic while I’m doing so.
- I approach it with a sense of wonder: “How could this be happening?” I wonder.
Make a Plan
“Where do I begin?” or “How am I going to get it all done?” are common questions when you’re feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list. In fact, if you’re anything like me, you could even waste time worrying about things when you should be getting things done. Instead of becoming sucked into anxious thoughts, consider the following:
- Make a to-do list of the most critical chores you need to do
- Allocate time for each activity throughout the day or week (while making sure to give yourself some “off” time in between)
- Plan out your projects and set a timer for them (so that you may do “good enough” work without being entrapped in perfectionism and spending much too much time on things)
- Distracting factors should be avoided if feasible (phone out of the room, for example)
- When you are able, seek assistance.
Compile a to-do list that includes your most critical responsibilities. Allocate time for each activity throughout the day or week (while making sure to give yourself some “off” time in the process). Plan out your projects and set a timer for them (so that you may do “good enough” work without being entrapped in perfectionism and spending much too much time on things). Distracting factors should be avoided if feasible (phone out of the room, for example). Whenever possible, seek assistance.
H. M. Shandomo is the author of this work (2010). Critical Reflection and Its Implications for Teacher Education ERIC. Photographs courtesy of Slatan and Shutterstock
5 Tips for Teaching the Tough Kids
Every instructor has a distinct memory of their first encounter with a “difficult kid.” Perhaps the kid disobeyed your instructions or laughed at your attempts to impose the classroom discipline procedures on them. We all have at least one tale to tell, and for some teachers, educating a difficult student is a daily problem that they face. It appears that no matter what instructional approaches you employ from your educator’s toolbox, nothing appears to have an effect on their conduct. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some challenging students.
I’ve included below five ways that have helped me minimize misbehavior in my classroom and, even better, have helped convert these children into leaders among their classmates in the process.
1. Set the Tone
It is my sincere belief that a student’s transgression in the past does not inevitably imply future misdeeds on his or her part. I used to stroll down to the sixth grade teachers’ offices with my new class lists in hand and ask them questions at the beginning of the school year. Specifically, I’d like to know who gets along well with whom, who shouldn’t sit next to whom, and who has given them the most trouble. It should come as no surprise that teachers would refer to the same children as their “difficult kids” again and over again.
I would try to schedule individual conferences with these difficult students during the first week of school, if at all possible.
These pupils are frequently treated with disdain by their professors, who have preconceived notions about how they are the troublemakers.
Ensure that your student understands that you believe in him or her, since you may be the only person who truly does.
2. Be a Mentor
Unfortunately, it has been my experience that some of the most difficult students to teach are those who come from really challenging family environments. Unpredictable living arrangements, missing or absentee parent(s), a lack of resources, and violence are just a few of the challenges that some of these youngsters experience on a daily basis. Children who have been ignored at home may act out in school in order to gain attention, whether positive or negative. They want someone to take notice of them and be interested in what they are doing in life.
Make an effort to demonstrate that you are concerned about them as individuals, not simply about their scores.
Instead of reacting, take the initiative. It is essential to be positive, available, and trustworthy in order to be a successful mentor. A year spent with a superb mentor may have a long-lasting, beneficial influence on the life of a troubled adolescent.
3. Make Connections
The capacity to establish relationships with these difficult children is an important part of being a successful mentor. As a result of the fact that these pupils may not have somebody who is supporting them or who is interested in their life, engage them in a genuine dialogue about their future or ambitions. Even if they don’t have much to say, start a conversation on their hobbies or interests – such as sports, music, movies, cuisine, clothes, friends, siblings, and so on. Find a method to connect with them so that they can understand and relate to you.
It may amaze you how quickly a student will open up to you about their hopes, anxieties, home life, and other concerns once you’ve established a strong relationship with them and have earned their confidence.
Explain that you do not wish to betray his or her confidence, but that, as a teacher, you are compelled by law to report certain incidents to the appropriate authorities.
4. Take it Personally (In a Good Way)
Teachers must have a thick skin in order to succeed. In an attempt to bruise your ego or call into doubt your teaching ability, students may say or do things. Keep in mind that we are working with children and people who are in the process of developing. When you were younger, I’m sure you said some nasty things that you didn’t mean to say. Students may say things out of annoyance or boredom, or they may be motivated by problems that have spilled over into your classroom from outside your classroom.
- These are the times when kids require the greatest encouragement from a positive role model.
- It has happened to me that I have defended children at grade team meetings only to have them get into a fight at lunch the following day.
- It is how we respond to their mistakes that will determine whether or not they continue to put their faith in us.
- Don’t dismiss them out of hand.
- Instead, demonstrate to them that you are concerned about them and that you are eager to collaborate with them.
5. Expect Anything and Everything!
The diverse cultures, countries, and home settings represented in our classroom mean that these five approaches that have worked for me may just touch the surface of how you deal with the challenging individuals in your classroom.
If you have a different approach that has worked for you in reaching out and connecting with a difficult child, please share it in the comments area below.
Strings Attached: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations: Lipman, Joanne, Kupchynsky, Melanie: 9781401324667: Amazon.com: Books
A little excerpt of the material is available; double tap to view the complete excerpt. Double touch to view the abbreviated content if the full material is not accessible. She is the bestselling author of THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID: What Men Need to Know (and What Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together, which has been translated into more than a dozen languages. In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief of USA TODAY, she served as Chief Content Officer of Gannett and Editor-in-Chief of USA TODAY NETWORK, which consisted of the flagship publication plus 109 local newspapers and a total of more than 3,000 writers.
Joanne began her professional career as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, eventually ascending to the position of deputy managing editor — the first woman to hold that position – and directing work that garnered three Pulitzer Prizes in a single year.
Many newspapers, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time magazine, Newsweek, Fortune and the Harvard Business Review have published her work, and she has been on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and MSNBC as well as public television stations such as PBS and the National Geographic Channel.
She is also a recipient of the Matrix Award for women in communications.
The New York Times Editors’ Pick, the Washington Post Bestseller, and the Financial Times quot;best book quot; pick are all for THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID.