In my first few years of teaching, I observed lots of teachers, some effective, some not so much. My particular interest was how can the length of teaching not have a direct correlation to the effectiveness when it comes to behaviour management. For example, I observed a Maths Teacher who was near retirement with a year nine class who had no control over her class at all. She was red in the face, loudly shh-ing the class and shouting “too noisy” and nobody listening or even caring she was in the room. She looked stressed and angry and obviously did not like kids or her job. In comparison, I observed an English Teacher who, as soon as he walked into the room, the students quickly and quietly took their seats. He was calm and caring, and the students respected him and were as equally scared to misbehave due to his consistent follow up with consequences. They knew he was always true to his word, both positive and negative.
My observations and many other observations are that effective teachers are not reactive. They are always calm and are always firm and fair. I recently attended a Woman in Leadership talk, and one of the guest speakers was a leader high up in the Police force. She was speaking about her role as a leader of hundreds of officers. She regularly has check-ins with them and starts with the question ‘how are you doing?’. She explains her reasoning as ‘how are you expected to lead others when you haven’t got your own sh*t together.
As teachers, we are leaders in the classroom, and we must have our sh*t together to be effective. To do this, we must start with an emotional audit. How are we travelling? Do we react to situations in ways that negatively impact the situation? What is our mind chatter? Is it overly negative? Do we have a Growth Mindset or not? This audit may need to be taken regularly at different times of the year, especially during report times or other more stressful times of the year. If you find the answers are more towards the negative, I suggest some personal development in emotional intelligence. My first recommendation is to listen to the audiobook EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. This audio comes with an EQ test free. This test is a great way to identify your strengths and areas for development.