So I've been failing my students! It's not like I am giving out F's.... but I am failing them because I haven't been cracking the whip on my expectations for class. I'm too much of a push-over.
Some of the kids in youth group at church were talking about a teacher they had this year who was really strict but they didn't talk about her in a negative light. They said, "She's strict, but we learn a lot in there." It seems as though there is a positive association in their minds when the teacher is strict but actually can teach them as opposed to a really strict teacher who just sits there and lectures them about non-class material (like a former teacher a this school). Oops!
I've always been laid back as a teacher for the most part but as I've been told by parents of children, the best thing is consistency. When parents raise children, they must be consistent in their rules. I realize that students don't always have the easiest time in life. I try to be firm but kind. But I still have students who find it appropriate to put their heads down on their desks in my class. Then of course, they're going to fall asleep. I mean, the posture can't be doing much for the brain.
It probably helps that I've been reading through Ben Slavic's TPRS in a Year this weekend in an attempt to get out of this funk I've been finding myself in as a TPRS teacher. I find that students don't seem to be interested in the stories like they used to be.
The problem is most likely a result of many factors. But one of those factors is that students most likely don't feel like they have to pay attention. If they aren't paying attention from the beginning of class and I don't say anything, they think they'll get away with it. I usually encourage students to sit up straight, but there are days where I don't say anything and I just let them get away with it without talking to them.
So today in one of my classes I had students who weren't giving me eye contact and they weren't trying from their posture. I stopped and explained that they needed to sit up straight and give me their eyes. They resisted and groaned and I waited patiently with a smile. Once I had it, I continued. During the class it happened again . I apologized and said, "I realize I have been failing you this year by not making sure you are sitting up straight and paying attention. I will continue teaching when I have you sitting up straight and your eyes on me." Once I had it, I continued. It took a little bit out of the class' story today but it will only make things easier in the long run. I only wish I would have started the year with being better about this.