Bumblebees and Class Clowns
~ By Brittain
February has been an incredible month! A trip to the Mayan ruins in Tulum, Carnival, countless beach days and of course teaching and fun with the students. I feel like I’ve really gotten into the swing of things. It’s nice to feel so much more comfortable with teaching. Confidence is key!
In order for as many students to get as much out of the lesson as possible, it’s crucial to create a manageable classroom environment that fosters learning. Understandably, classroom management has been my biggest challenge thus far. I think that it’s very important to make English class not only engaging for my students, but also enjoyable. Sometimes it’s proven to be quite difficult to balance the elements of teaching, authority and fun.
Sometimes, things in the classroom get out of hand. One morning I was teaching first grade and a gigantic bee flew in the room and completely wreaked havoc. Out of nowhere, thirty-seven 6 year olds were running around the room screaming in a pitch so high that my ears were ringing for a week. Someone spilled their drinkable yogurt all over me in the height of the chaos, so that was a nice added bonus. To be honest, their Spanish teacher and I were probably more scared of the bug than they were. Thankfully, after 10 minutes of utter chaos the bee made it out the window. Sometimes, this kind of chaos just happens and you have to just go with it and laugh it off.
Not all classroom chaos is unmanageable. When trying to maintain control and the attention of the class, it’s hard when there are a few students who aren’t interested in listening or obeying. It’s a distraction to other students around them. I have a particularly hard time with classroom management in one of my 5th grade classes. To make it a little harder, you could also say we have a “class clown.” He’s incredibly smart, and very sweet. At first it was hard for me to reprimand him for acting up. His behavior seemed to get worse every day and I realized it was having a negative effect on the behavior of the class as a whole. I knew I had to figure something out for both the sake of my sanity and for the rest of the class.
I didn’t come up with any ground-breaking solution, but I had a talk with him about respect. I realized how smart he is and I figured that there was a good chance that he gets bored and that’s why he was acting up so much. The next few classes I started calling on him to answer questions and actively trying to engage him in the lessons. It’s honestly incredible what a difference it’s made. His behavior is still not perfect, but getting him more involved in the lessons has shown huge improvement in his behavior and the overall manageability of the classroom.
At the end of the day, I’m trying to be the best teacher I can be for my students. They motivate me in so many different ways. They motivate me to be a better teacher, to be a better person, to improve my Spanish, to work hard, to be grateful and to enjoy every day here in Isla and I owe it to them to work hard and do my best to overcome any challenges that arise.