Friday, March 16, 2012

A Little Knowledge, Candy, and Some Reverse Psychology

(Dragon Blood Tree)

Today I was the substitute teacher for  3- 7th grade science classes that lasted for 1.2 hours each...whew!  The worst part was the assignment!  The kids supposedly watched a video about plants on Monday (today is FRIDAY!) and they supposedly took notes. 

I quickly came to the realization that no one remembered the video and no one took notes.  Great. This led to major problems when the worksheet was passed out and 12 questions were required to be answered in essay form.

Within minutes, kids were confused, asking me questions and turning to their neighbor for help.  Because I was absolutely no help, I resorted to keeping everyone under control and attempting to get something down on paper from each student.

After the first period fiasco (I didn't have any idea how the heck a Dragon Blood Tree had adapted to its environment or how the Milkweed plant and the Monarch butterfly helped each other...remember I hadn't see the video), I immediately had to fix that problem.  This inability to help the children and their inability to help themselves, led to many chatty students.  During the teacher planning hour (which was right after the first class), I went online, looked up all of the questions and found answers (Dear Teacher, It would have been so much easier if I had an answer key...Love, Mrs. Porter). 

As I sat ready to welcome in the next class and use my new found knowledge,  I came across this note from the teacher, "My last period of the day contain my biggest behavioral problems!  Feel free to take down any names or send a student to the office."  Geez, I had thought the first class was hard...needless to say, I was nervous about this class!

Although I was grateful for my new knowledge of the Dragon Blood Tree and Milkweed plant (and many other things) I was a bit concerned about this last class and keeping control for such a long period of time.

After introducing myself, I told them one thing, "Mrs. Porter loves candy.  And she likes to share it."  I showed them my bag of goodies and then explained that after they completed their assignment, they would receive a piece.

I was armed with  knowledge and treats but I knew I needed to add the "reverse psychology" plan...just to be sure.

After my introduction, I immediately told them they were Mr. So and So's favorite class!  They said, "No way, he hates us!"  I reiterated, "No, really you guys are awesome.  You are truly the best class. I mean look at, handsome/pretty and ready to listen!"  As I said these words, I looked into their eyes, high fived a few possible "hoodlums" and winked at the obvious trouble makers.

I honestly believe they changed in that very instant I told them they were awesome.  And although they weren't "perfectly quiet," they were perfectly wonderful.  By simply telling them how great they were (and that they were loved), they became great.

...and the candy helped too.

I made a conscience choice to show my confidence and love in these children that I didn't know. Just think about the huge change each of us can make in our own homes and those around us by simply telling them how great they truly, capable, and loved. These are people we do know!

...throw in some candy and miracles will happen!

And if by chance you know how the Air Plant gets its nutrients without roots in soil, you are completely set!


becky said...

Love it! Those kids were lucky to have you there today, you're a great teacher.

Cherilyn said...

Heather, I can picture you totally saying all of these things to the kids because I saw you in action during primary! Boy, Peru could use someone awesome like you in our primary! Way to go on your teaching experiences.

Jenny said...

Evan said the candy and the positive vibes from you worked like a charm!