Challenging Connections: We tend to struggle with certain kids because of our own expectations and experiences and we put up walls without even knowing it.

– There’s usually a pattern which you can discover by asking yourself  a few questions.

“Dear Classroom Whisperer:

I’m a second year teacher in Illinois and I’m really passionate about my work. My Induction Mentor says I’m getting much better at lesson planning and content delivery. However, I still need to work on my classroom management skills and connecting with all my kiddos.

I have a great relationship with most of them, but there have been a few each year that I’ve had a hard time reaching and relating to and they usually end up being the ones who act out in class.

Do you have some tips about things I can do over the Summer and at the start of next year to keep improving in these areas?

Mr. N., Passionate in Peoria.

Dear Mr. N., Passionate in Peoria:

It’s so good to hear from young professionals like yourself who are dedicated to getting better at their craft and it sounds like you’re well on your way. One of the great things about having a mentor is that they help us see our blind spots.

The key to doing this for yourself is to take time each Summer to think about what worked and what didn’t and the kind of kid you struggled to connect with. Why? Because there’s usually a pattern which you can discover by asking yourself questions like:

  • What kind of students were they?
  • What were their main issues with others?
  • How did they deal with frustration and anger?
  • How did they try to get attention in the room?
  • What kind of family did they come from?

We tend to struggle with certain kids because of our own expectations and experiences and we put up walls without even knowing it. As you begin to get a better sense of who you are and what your button issues are, you’ll have a much easier time connecting. Like the saying goes, “Knowing others is wisdom but knowing  yourself is enlightenment.” (Lao Tzu).

Here’s some other ideas:

  1. Get to know your students by using evocative writing prompts. I send one out each day during the school year on Twitter at #K12writingprompt; 
  2. Have conversations about expected behavior and have students work on social skills. Connection is about caring and the more you can help them be successful, the more they will care and connect with you. We do daily 1 minute videos during the school year which will help that can be found at SchoolToolsTv.com.
  3. Try to never let them see that they’ve gotten to you. Turn away or send them to a partner teacher to give yourself a break when one your special ones is on your last nerve.

Thanks so much for your question and for all you do everyday to give our kids the skills they need to really succeed. Have a great Summer.

If you have a question, reply to this post, find me on Twitter @rustymayinc or you can email me!

 

Rusty May is a Classroom Whisperer who thrives to inspire educators to connect more completely with all their students by training them to be assertive classroom managers and positive disciplinarians. In 2002 Rusty created SchoolToolsTv.Com, a daily SEL show that reaches 25k Students per day. His inspiration are his wife and their two children.

Rusty’s trainings are fun, interactive and full of real tools you can start using in your classroom the very next day without any prep or additional busy work on your end. Ask for a free quote today!