Ever have days that looks like these?
So let me first start out by asking....who has a robotic classroom? The next question is...who wants a robotic classroom? In the beginning of my teaching experience...I can honestly say this is what I was wanting...all the kids sitting in perfectly little rows, never talking, little to no socialization what so ever. I envied other teachers who had this in their room because being a student of old fashion teaching...this was structure (AND PERFECTION) in the classroom. I was led to believe this is when students did their most learning.
Now, I won't argue that having the kids like little robots is a big step in structure (and can make teaching VERY easy) but it has taken me three years to see that it's not always the best environment for the class. I taught my first two years in a school that was associated as a "rough" high school....and looking back on the experience...I don't think I EVER had a robotic classroom...but...looking back...I KNOW FOR A FACT my kids learned Spanish....and learned it well!
Now, I am at a new school where if I just look at a kid with a stern eye he is apologizing and pleading for mercy....and I have realized I sometimes miss those days where the class was featuring a lot of personality...( BUT STILL LEARNING) but like said, I guess you could say "there was a lot of personality."
I have NOW finally gotten my classrooms at my new school exactly where there is a perfect balance. The kids now know when we can have fun and they can break away from their perfect little rows and sometimes awkward silences.
I guess when it all comes down to it...don't sweat the small stuff. If a kid decides to stay up out of his chair longer than expected...redirect him and continue on. I remember oh so vaguely, I would throw my hands up in the air thinking "What has this generation came to?" but I am starting to see....there is some beauty in the chaos.
As high school teachers, we have to understand..they are high schoolers...they are going to socialize, talk to/about each other, break the rules, and heck...even challenge us a day or two. But the one thing I have learned is not to throw my hands in the air but to pick my battles and be consistent...and at the end of the day...they DO know a little bit more than what they walked in with!