donderdag 7 oktober 2010

Zen In The Classroom?

Teenagers can be very fierce when it comes down to getting their point across. For sure when they are spending time in Puberty Country! According to my mother I did never checked in there. Still, I have seen enough that it is for some kids a rather painful experience. My sister rather got stuck in that period of time, also according to my mum, and I do think that it were the Swiss and a nice fellow named C that turned her into a real lady!

At work I am so fortunate to walk into a classrooms filled up with wild hormones and kids who are about to errupt because of the specific feeling mentioned here above! As a teacher noticing that there is a pupil out there who is staying over in teenage hell then you can do two things: ignore or try to make it a bit eassier on him/her. In most cases I go for option 2. One of my golden rules in my classroom is that 'disturbances always get priority'! After all they can affect my teaching style and also the quality of learning!

'Please, get it out in the open!' or 'What is bothering you?', 'Can I do anything do fix it or at least let me find some help for you to make it any eassier on you?', are just some of the opening lines when I am picking up negative vibes. They then also get two options. One: they talk about it for 5 minutes privately with me or when it affects a whole group I try to get them all involved in a group discussion. Or they can deny themselves that right but then also start working without any further disturbances! If they go for option one I then turn into a modest moderator without choosing sides. Try to be a good listener and guide them through the very difficult process of trying to settle the score! And this without extra punches!

In most cases it is my personal formula to turn a bunch of hard core teenagers into hardworking sensible kids with still enough punch in them! Helas, yesterday it was not enough! One look at the 12 faces standing or sitting out there was enough to know that they just were about to go for the kill! And it was their stresslevel I was experiencing and I was fighting back not to let it get under my skin! 'Oh boy, where is Jasper Cullen when you need him badly?!', I was thinking.

After being 10 minutes in my room they had spilled the beans and there I was facing a class in complete turmoil. Not that they were passing out punches (nope, that chapter appeared to have taken place just before they had entered the school! Visit to the ER included!) or were going to attack me! But what I was experiencing was not a positive atmosphere in which I was ready to teach them about some significant social skills that can make the difference in their lives!

There in front of me were sitting very hurt kids and my bag of tricks was empty! My classdoor was knocked on numerous times. Many got to go out to have a meaningful talk but the dust did not get settled by recess! By noon I was the one who was very tempted to drive over to N for an emergency shiatsu treatment or booking a ticket to the tropics. When I left my classroom I was more than ever convinced to get that one sign made:'Beware, Class of Newborns In Action!' with a very colorful 'Twilight'-twist to it! When it is out on the door you better keep out unless your name is Jasper Cullen!

P.S.: In order to snap out of this mood I tried to imagine to be something else for a few hours. In the background I had this Donna Lewis song on. As a teacher I need to have many aliases. But on an average Wednesday I seem having rather the impression that I need to be most of these things mentioned in this soothing&velvetlike song!

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