How It All Fits
My work week has a pretty set routine as far as meetings, classes, feedback, and stress goes. Every Wednesday we hear our weekly feedback from the Director of Studies and we either try to do better or keep up the good work. On Thursdays we have our weekly workshop. The workshops always have some sort of theme or focal point for us teachers. Some of the workshops in the past have included teacher talk time, teaching phonics, Life Clubs, and Graphic Readers. Many of the workshops are run by either the Director of Studies or by the Senior Teacher. Sometimes, the workshops are given by the teachers and focuses on something they have struggled with in the past. All teachers have to give at least one workshop during their year commitment and mine happened to come last week. My boss suggested that I give the workshop on classroom management because I had some difficulty with it in the past, so that is what I did.
I was fairly nervous about giving this workshop because unlike the regular classroom, my audience was composed of peers and superiors. It was not about just teaching a few new vocabulary words or grammar points, but rather about ideas and strategies in the classroom. I crafted and structured my workshop around a PowerPoint, so I would stay on track with my ideas. Classroom management is such a broad topic and could be talked about forever so I picked discipline as my theme. I have had quite a hard time with discipline since my teaching career took off six months ago. The point of these things is not to flaunt around my skills, or lack thereof, but to analyze my strategy and compare them to my fellow teachers. The teachers should take away some new ideas from any workshop so that is what I focused on. I wrote about some of my different methods of maintaining control through discipline and highlighted some of the benefits and disadvantages. The presentation started to take form and by the time Thursday rolled around, I was feeling much better about it all.
To be honest with you, I was pretty satisfied with the workshop I gave. I started off by asking a few general questions about what they thought classroom management was and how it pertained to discipline. These questions sparked quite a bit of debate and we started touching on many good topics. The main idea of the discipline aspect was the idea of being either a proactive or reactive teacher. I told them all my story of how at the beginning, I was much more of a reactive teacher. Things would happen in class and instead of trying to compensate for them, I would just react. Like I said before, I had a really hard time with discipline at first because I always despised it. I was that student in class that did not want to do the homework, want to participate, and would always hate when the teacher tried to pull their power trips on me.
I was the class clown almost my entire academic career. Because of this, I associated with the students that were like me. I did not want to flex my power and become the person I always loathed. There was a mistake in my thinking, however, My boss told me one time that though regular Andrew is relaxed, chill, and easy-going, teacher Andrew had to be different. Teacher Andrew is different from normal Andrew because he has a job to do and has a class to maintain. I thought this was very interesting and actually very true. I had to separate myself and still be able to look at myself in the mirror. I needed to be stern, but not the classroom dictator. I told the other teachers about how I was trying to change this and be more proactive about the classroom. Many of them related to what I was feeling and also had problems with classroom control. We touched on many good ideas and ways to be better all together. It was very informative and interesting to hear everyone’s ideas.
The only thing I wanted from this workshop was it to be useful in some way to at least one person besides myself. A few hours after I gave it, one of the newer teachers walked up to me and asked me for more ideas of how to discipline in the classroom. He said that he also struggled and did not know how to let his kids know he was serious. We discussed some of my methods and how to incorporate them and he said he wanted to give it a try. Mission completed.