Wednesday, October 22, 2014

31 Days with Mama A: Children who argue with adults. (Day 22)

One of my favorite phrases in my classroom when dealing with a child (who is having a less than stellar attitude) in class is:

"I do not argue with children."

I have seen a few sweet teachers over the years in different schools trying desperately to regain control of their classroom by attempting to reason with their students. They believe by continuing to have a conversation with their students when there is a behavior issue that they will demonstrate to their students that they are, indeed, the wise adult in the room.  And they fully expect to walk away from the conversation in agreement with the student that the teacher is in complete control of the room and everything else is daisies and roses.  

They probably expect the child to feel badly and maybe even apologize later. 

I'm sure they weren't expecting their troublesome student to come back with a comment and more than ready to start an argument with the teacher.

And sometimes the student's opinion is a whole lot more convincing to the class. 

And then, the sweet, sweet teacher, has lost complete control of her classroom because she's allowed herself to be pulled into an argument with a child.  She's going to get frustrated and embarrassed and mad.  She might say things she doesn't mean to say.  She might lose her cool in front of the class.  And the children do not have to correct their behavior because they have managed to talk themselves out of punishment. 


She'd be better off trying to reason with a cat. 

These children have been taught that it's ok to speak to adults like equals.  They have learned that the person who yells the loudest is the winner (or at least the one most people will hear).  They are always going to seek to have the last word and/or the best comeback.  Sometimes they also attempt to manipulate with tears and whining.  They may also huff and puff and look all pitiful/angry, but they are not going to be ready to back down in front of all of their friends.  

So, when confronted with these children, I would suggest taking the following steps:

1.  State the issue and what you want the kids to (not) do: "Sam, please stop pulling Suzie's hair."  Continue with instruction immediately.  Do not wait for a response, do not ask him if he heard you, and do not give him any more of your attention. 

2.  When Sam starts to fuss about it not being fair, that it's Suzie's fault because her hair was so beautiful, or that teachers are always picking on him for everything, ignore him and continue with instruction.  

If he stops, congratulations, you have diffused this situation and regained your classroom.

If he doesn't:

3.  In your calmest voice (without emotion), simply say to sweet little Sam, "Sam, I do not argue with children.  I asked you to stop pulling Suzie's hair, and that is what I expect you to do."  And then immediately continue with instruction.  Children like Sam have become conditioned to argue and shout their way out of a situation and will often find themselves stunned into silence when you refuse to play.  He won't be able to say a word in defense and look smart in front of his peers, and he knows that you have drawn the line.  

Most of the time, he's going to stop at this point.  And if he doesn't, then you will need to take the next steps in regards to continual class disruptions (move seat, time out, marking on behavior log, etc).  But Sam will learn that you have decided to take control of the room, and most likely he's not going to try to argue with you again.  

Always remember: you are the adult.  
And sometimes you are going to be the only one who will demonstrate what that should look like. 

Love and smooches, 
Mrs. Mama A.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

31 Days with Mama A: What are you waiting for? (Day 21)

What are you waiting for today?

A diagnosis?

A job?



For your home to sell?  
Shameless plug, I know. 

Being in the middle of a wait can be exhausting.  
It eats at you. 
It makes you anxious.

But, I know there is an ultimate plan for my life, and I know He works all things together for good.  I've found encouragement in these verses lately:

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-20 NASB

But even if He does not.

I don't like to think that my prayers won't always be answered the way I would like for them to be answered.  I have spoken prayers--words I have whispered from from deep places.  Things that I'm almost afraid to speak aloud, desires and dreams that seem almost impossible at times.  He knows my heart and he knows how desperate I am for direction and a clear purpose. 

I'm currently waiting on several things to come to pass.
I'm waiting on answers.  
I'm waiting on guidance.
I'm waiting for Him to move.

But I know, that even when He does not answer, my God is still good.  

Shall we be content to rest in that Truth today?

Love and smooches, 
Mama A. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

31 Days with Mama A: Phones and memes (Day 20).

I hope you've been enjoying the series!  
Only 11 days left in the month of October--insanity!

Here's the deal, teens.  I know you love your phones.  I know they are an essential part of your outfit.  I know they are a great tool and distraction.  I know those phones keep you up to date on all the latest news since you left the school building 15 minutes ago.  

Because you just never know what you're going to miss once those buses roll in the afternoons!

But some of you have no idea how ridiculous you've become with those cute little gadgets.  And some of you are starting to alarm me with the need you have for your phones: 

1.  My husband and I saw you this past weekend skating beside your friends and everyone was staring at their phones.  While skating.  Not looking at the other folks on the floor.  Not looking or talking to the friend skating next to you.  Heaven help us all if you are actually entrusted to operate a motor vehicle. 

And while I'm at it, those little booty shorts you were all wearing that *might* have had a 2-inch inseam?  You girls leave nothing to the imagination and you look ridiculous. 

2.  Bathroom selfies.   Please, please, please stop taking photos of you and your friends in the school bathrooms.  

And please, please, please disinfect that phone.  

3.  A 4th grader had his phone out in the cafeteria (big no-no at our elementary school).  He was busy scrolling away and I walked over to ask him what he was doing.  All of his friends looked at me with flying saucer eyeballs and he calmly responded, "Checking my email."

What on earth kind of emails is a 4th grader receiving that must be checked?

4.  You are all in a car/bus/van together and all simultaneously on your phones texting each other.  We adults really don't care about your conversation or middle/high school drama, and if you can't say it in front of your parents, then you shouldn't be talking about it, should you?

5.  And finally, please put that phone up if you are babysitting my children.  If I've trusted you with my kids, I better NOT see you scrolling, typing, or checking that phone when they are in the room with you--especially if I'm paying you good money to take care of them.  And when you are talking to me or my husband, that phone better not be chirping or beeping or giving us any reason to believe that you are not going to devote your attention on my babies.  If I asked you to watch my children, it's because I see you as a respectable and responsible person.

You have been warned. 

Love and smooches, 
Mama A. 


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