I finished my intern I with Pre-K. I have learned so much from these kiddos and I will miss being there. I have not been able to meet my new mentor, but I have emailed her. I GOT THIRD GRADE!! YES!! The Reading Buddies went over so well with the students and my mentor loved hers. I am so happy.
My mentor told me she hoped that I learned from interning with her and that I was able to take something from being there. I did and it was an amazing experience. I learned discipline and classroom management. I completely changed my speech in her class, but it was a huge adjustment. I had to practice at it constantly. I want to give the secret to great classroom management.
My mentor did not use the happy/sad faces for discipline or stickers or even conduct marks. She uses positive reinforcement. That is it! That is the secret! It seemed at first to be weird and it was hard for me to change my speech, but I saw the pay off quickly. A plus to using positive reinforcement is it does not stress you out and the bad behaviors of the students do not get to you as much. You know that feeling of exhaustion and just wanting to give up is gone.
So, what is positive reinforcement? Positive reinforcement or positive punishment, I sometimes like to call it, is not saying “NO.” These kids hear “NO” at home every day and all day. I know because that is what I tell me own kids at home. When a student does something he/she is not supposed to do, don’t yell no or even tell them you are disappointed in them. Telling a child you are disappointed in them is like cutting their little hearts in half. These students look at you as if you are their older sister, mother, grandma, or an idol. As silly as that sounds it is true. They look up to you!
Important part of positive reinforcement is to make sure to give the students the choice to make the right behavior. It is letting the students know they are responsible for their own self and actions. This brings in the key words “Right/Good Choice” and “Wrong/Bad Choice.” No one wants to feel like they do not have options and neither do students. This vocabulary is not learned over night and takes repetition repetition.
This leads me into, Modeling. As the teacher you need to model everything that you teach and this includes the behavior you want to the students to follow. Demonstrate the behavior you want them follow such as when you ring the bell show them what you want them to do. You can also use the students as the model. “Look at Danny, he is not talking and is listening. This is a good choice Danny. Thank you!” I find this seems to work very well. The student is getting recognition for his behavior and the others kids want the recognition too. Some bad behavior occurs because the student wants the attention so only give attention for doing good behavior.
Again, this not something that is learned over night and needs to be repeated constantly. You have to be consistent. I am not expert and this is what I have observed and implemented myself. I do like the happy/sad face and other discipline methods as well. I could implement those with positive reinforcement easily and I just might. Now that I am going to third grade I can see what type of classroom management the teacher will use. I just feel not being negative with the student is a good thing and it helps them stay positive. I want to prevent the student from shutting down or making the behavior worse. I want the students to recognize the bad behavior in a positive way and know that it is unacceptable.
This blog turned out longer than I expected. I plan to write more on it as I go through my teaching career. Perhaps make a how to book for positive reinforcement. We will see. I am also going to upload a template I am making for quick take home notes soon. I think every student should get recognized for their behavior good or bad. I do like the smiley face stamp in the take home folders, but I would love to know exactly what my child did that day. I will also explain how to use it because how do we find the time to write notes home on every child every day.
Until next time,