Five Lessons from Working in a School

1) Don’t enforce authority for the sake of authority.

Kids can smell this, and the ones we call “challenging’ will rebel. If you are telling a kid to do something simply because ‘I told you to,” it’s not the kid that has a problem, but you.

2) Stay focus, stay present.

If you are not there with the kids, the kids won’t be there with you. If there’s something bugging your mind, the kids will have something bugging their mind too. The kids in a classroom are almost like a reflection of you, how they act is a reflection of how you act.

3) Be consistent.

In every single way. I think this one is one of the most important one. If you ask a kid to be quiet, your entire self has to be consistent to that request. For the less boisterous ones you might be able to get away with it but with any other kid you have to be completely consistent.

If you tell the class you want silence, your inner beliefs have to be consistent with what you are saying. You might voice that you want silence, but if your inner thoughts are saying, “they won’t listen to me,” you will not get silence.

Your actions need to be consistent too, especially with the way you treat individual kids. If you tell one kid to be quiet but allow another one to carry on talking, injustice will fill their minds and you will lose their respect

4) Ask for feedback.

The kids are your customers in a school, albeit customers that don’t yet know what might be best for them. Feedback from them however is still important and can be incredibly useful.

By asking for feedback you recognise the kids. In turn, they recognise you and a mutual respect is formed.

5) Treat every kid like a prodigy.

I think one of the worst things you could do to a kid in school is to hold a negative judgement against them. If the first impression you get of a kid is negative – lose it. Give the kid a chance to make a new first impression, and if it’s another negative one – lose it.

By holding a judgement you skew your sense of fairness. It is why candidate numbers are used instead of names when marking examination papers.

Holding a negative judgement also means resistance to change. Changes in anyone do not happen over night. They are slow and gradual processes. By holding a negative judgement you miss these small changes, you might even hinder or stop them.

“If you don’t underestimate me, I won’t underestimate you.” – Bob Dylan

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