As a former Deputy Head & Class Teacher for over 22 years here’s a blog for all my teachers – ready to hit the last part of term up and running!
Here is a simple but effective exercise to change your negative thoughts about problem behaviour into positive targets.
Make a list of the top 10 behaviours that really cause you concern in the classroom or around the school building. Your list may look something like this:
- failing to comply with adult directions and school rules
- calling out
- running in the corridors
- being noisy in the lunch queue
- answering back and arguing
- forgetting to bring the right equipment to lessons
- being late
- moaning colleagues
- litter in and around the school
- low level disruption, distracting behaviour like fidgeting, tapping or humming
- constant interruptions
Once you have composed your list of annoyances, niggles and irritations the next step is to re -frame all of them and turn them into the exact opposites.
Try to be creative in your descriptions. Keep it positive and look for the lesson in it and have a bit of fun turning your perception of the situation around on its head!
Don’t simply describe the opposite behaviour of latecomers as ‘being on time’ as that isn’t realistic. Instead try to describe the behaviour that would like to see and will cause your stress levels to remain at calm, centred and grounded. This might include something like this:
- They are listening to and following my instructions without any argument or refusal
- They are attracting attention appropriately (by their raising hand)
- I am surrounded by sympathetic and helpful colleagues who boost my self-esteem and make me laugh
- Everyone moves calmly, quietly and sensibly in the corridors
Once you have constructed your two lists, take the first one (the behaviours that annoy you) and really enjoy screwing up the paper and throwing it away.
It is much more fun and far more effective and gratifying to actually screw up the hard copy paper and throw it away rather than just hitting the delete button!
Now all you have left is the list of behaviours you want to see and hear on a daily basis. Now let your imagination and your unconscious have fun spending time developing strategies to nurture these good behaviours, rather than dwelling on the negative ones.
You may even find as you sleep and as you dream, or driving or relaxing in a bath, you’ll get new ideas that will just pop into your head easily and effortlessly so keep a pen and paper handy!
Your thoughts and vocabulary can now begin to reflect your fresh start approach to managing behaviour and it begins to feel like fun to look at old problems with fresh new eyes.
Each lesson or day offers you the opportunity to start again with no residue of the disruptive behaviour from the previous day.
You are now also focusing on the positives, reducing interruptions, encouraging pupils to attract your attention appropriately rather than calling out and taking responsibility to arrive at your lesson on time with all the correct equipment.
Remembering that your thoughts and emotions drive your behaviour, it is important to focus on the positive rather than sink into the negative.
Re – focusing your thoughts, words, and physiology in a more positive way will powerfully restore your enthusiasm. This will allow you to effectively manage difficult behaviour and create a happier, more productive and engaging environment where you can cheerfully teach and your pupils can learn easily and with more enthusiasm !
Click on the link to buy my ‘Successful teacher’s bouncing back toolkit – 3 x Audio CD’ which is bursting with my tips, techniques and strategies to help you be the best you can be 🙂