When I say “Self-Control”, Who Pops in your Mind First? Teachers or Students?
“Conflict in enviable, combat is optional” (Time To Teach Concept)
Much has been written about classroom behavior for teachers and students, and effective teaching and learning strategies, but little has been reported specifically about Teacher self-control, in the context of the delivery of instruction.
Perhaps, a close association and/or the new jargon that captures Teacher-self control may be Teacher Mindfulness. Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Mindfulness research is on the rise, and reports the “potential benefits of mindfulness practices for students’ physical health, psychological well-being, social skills, academic performance, and more…and mindfulness may be effective for reducing stress and burnout in teachers and administrators as well.” (Campbell, 2014).
One of the five essential Time To Teach (Classroom Management) components is teacher self-control, because an underlying assumption is that kids job is to challenge teachers! Teacher self-control is summarized by remaining calm and responding right, and avoiding power struggles by effectively using “diffusers”. In The Center for Teacher Effectiveness Time To Teach publication “Time To Teach: Encouragement, Empowerment, and Excellence in Every Classroom”, Chapter 3 “Time to Learn from our Frustrations”, states “there is no end to the kind of arguments we can get into with kids if we allow ourselves to take the “debate bait.” And there is no end to the frustration we can experience if we do, because these are not winnable arguments.” Teacher self-control, or the lack of teacher self-control, can lead to major frustration, and can be job-threatening or even life-threatening.
A recent three-year elementary school study in Nevada that focused on STEM* readiness collected nearly 180 classroom observations that revealed that the Teacher self-control element was the lowest among the teacher attributes observed (unpublished, contact author for more details). However, the underlying assumption made by this staff, as well as in most schools, is that all behavior issues are students and their lack of self-control. Why is this? What do you think? And what can be done to strengthen Teacher-Self-Control?
When you are ready to learn more about Teacher self-control and available training, visit our website at www.opengatestem.com
*STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics