The driving force behind classroom management is the way that one views children.
I get it. It is mid-year, after Christmas. The kids should know how to behave at this point, but they are chatty (seriously, how much is there to actually say about MineCraft?), unfocused (yes, your shoelaces are still blue and untied), frustrated (you know how the skills get harder 2nd semester), sick (flu, strep, stomach bug, cold, allergies), and overall just driving you crazy.
You’ve repeated the same directions 60,000 times. You have asked the same child to sit down way too many times. No, you still won’t give into a tantrum. And toys still aren’t allowed at school.
Bottom line — your patience is running thin. You’ve categorized your class, saying, “They are absolutely CRAZY and have lost their ever-loving minds!” And they have. Because they are five, and five year-olds lose their minds from time to time. So do you. So do I — like the time that I woke up from a restless night only to find out that we were out of coffee. I lost my mess. Just saying.
What matters is how you handle the kiddos that have “lost their ever-loving minds.” And you won’t handle the situation rightly if you don’t have the right view of children.
Every kid is just as important as you.
They have purpose, a calling in life, and a destiny to fulfill. They matter just as much as you do. The way you speak to a child lets them know whether they are important or an inconvenience in your life. The power of life and death are held in the words that you speak over and to these kids.
If your words towards them are respectful and loving in a moment of discipline, you are speaking life into their very bones — building character and preparing them for their future. You are letting them know that they are important.
If your words are filled with anger and resentment, they will hold onto them as their identity — thus producing death. They will never rise to your behavior exceptions if they fell like the “bad” kid in your class. If they do not feel loved by you and important to you, they will act out. If you believe that every kid is important, they will believe it too.
Every kid is a good kid.
It’s not a cute saying. It’s the truth, folks.
Bad behavior is a result of so many factors, none of which are that the kid is actually bad. So a kid has been diagnosed with a behavior disorder. That simply does not mean that the child can’t be taught to cope and rise to your expectations.
If you believe that the child is beyond help, you are writing their destiny for them. If you believe in your heart that every child is good, you will fight for them. You will use every tool in your belt to help them rise to your expectations through love, consistency, and reinforcements.
And guess what? They will rise. Because that is just what kids do.
Children are to be guided, not controlled.
Ouch. I know. It hurts me too. I can be a control freak for sure. But you will beat your head against the wall wielding terrible results if you are seeking to make a classroom full of minions that all talk, think, and act the exact same way. You can’t make them into little robots because kids’ very beings will rebel against this philosophy.
So somehow, someway, you must empower them to make the right choices through your leadership and guidance. Show them the way. Teach them about positive and negative consequences. Teach them relational skills and character traits. Tell them that they are a part of a family, and they each have something special to offer the class/world. Let them in on the rule making process. Guide them as they solve their own problems according to their unique personalities.
Give them choices. Empower your kids.
There is NOTHING easy about managing a classroom, but the most rewarding things are usually the hardest. And most battles are won in your mind. Your actions will always follow your beliefs.
Fight the good fight. Stand by your beliefs about children. Love them with every ounce of love that the Good Lord has given you. Pray for them. Fight. Day in and day out to help them become all that they are capable of becoming.
Believe in them — especially that kid that you wish would disappear. We can do this!