I spoke with my parents this past Sunday as I do every weekend. Sunday was also Father’s Day. It reminded me how much I missed being home. It also reminded me that I learned a lot of parenting tips from my mom and dad without even realizing it. These tricks have been helpful maintaining classroom order.
The countdown commanded immediate obedience from my sister and I. Although I start at five, my students know that they better shape up before I reach zero. If they don’t behave by then, I take away rewards. I learned that kids responded to firm rules and discipline.
When my sister and I fought over something trivial such as sitting in the front seat or who had to wash the dishes that week, my father use to pick a number and tell us to guess it. I tell my students to guess a number between 0-100. The closest student to my number gets to answer the first question, the second closest get to answer the next question, and so on until every student has a number. I write their names and numbers on the board so that everyone can see. Some kids get upset if they end up last. They don’t realize the number are unimportant. What matters is that every student speaks and answers at least one question. This game also works as a great segue into the lesson. I learned that treating children with fairness gains their trust and cooperation.
3). The eyes
My mom use to joke about torciendo los ojos or “twisting her eyes”. That was her silent threat. It quietly shouted “behave or else!” I learned body language is a great way to communicate. It works especially well with kindergarten students that don’t speak English well.
These are maneuvers I never thought I would use at the age of 21. I see myself in their shoes or hear them in my voice. It’s kind of scary thinking that I am turning into them. I know they raised me right and I’m beginning to half understand the world of parents. Thanks mom and dad.