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Ten Rules For No Opt Out

Discussion in 'General Education Discussions' started by LPH, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. LPH

    LPH Flight Director Flight Instructor

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    Never let a student be an empty desk.

    Classroom management at the secondary school level can be challenging. There is always that one student who tries to put their head down, the loud-one, the quiet one, the sneaky one, and the radical. Every classroom has at least one student wanting your attention (at the worst of times). There is always that one person who will try to opt-out.

    The following rules will help you deal with the behavior of the student who tries to opt-out. It is your job to not allow the student to not learn. This is why you get paid.

    Rule 1: You are Responsible

    Regardless of who is in the room, you are responsible for making sure they are learning. This means you cannot send them to an administrator (unless something is very severe). You are responsible. Period.

    Rule 2: Everyone Wants to Learn

    No student comes to school with the intention of not learning. They can become distracted, irrational, and stubborn but this does not mean they want you to ignore them. Therefore, do not sit the troublemakers into the back of the room and ignore them.

    Rule 3: Build A No Sarcasm Zone

    Do not use sarcasm in your classroom. First, a student on the edge of an emotional outburst is going to take your words and twist them. Second, how do you like it when someone is sarcastic to you? So - stop.

    Rule 4: Be Direct and Be Kind.

    Stop asking Johnny to work. Instead, use short sentences and direct Johnny to take out paper, write something down, or whatever it is that Johnny should be doing. Do not hedge or give options. A corollary is to not threaten. For example do not state, "If you do not work then I will .... " Never use an if/then statement. This sets up an argument.

    Rule 5: Smile

    People who do not smile are just being rude. They have zero respect for others. Worse, they are showing that they are selfish. Teachers should never be selfish.

    Rule 6: Inspect What You Expect

    My dad says it best, "Inspect what you expect." If you want a student to listen then verify that they are listening. If you want a student to write something down then verify it is being written.

    Rule 7: Practice

    Believe it or not - there are lazy teachers who show up to class without much of a thought about how to handle the challenging student. You can overcome this error through practice. Figure out how you will handle the student who does not work.

    Rule 8: Listen and Watch

    Students are very clear when they are stuck. Sadly, the more challenging students lack various means to communicate to you that they are stuck. It is your job to listen and watch. If the noise level in the room goes up then the students are saying, "Hey - we are lost!"

    Rule 9: Start Simple

    Sometimes a student cannot get started. They were not listening to the instructions. They forgot the first step (learn to give instructions so that they are remembered). They became distracted. Regardless of the reason, address the need for the student to get started.

    Rule 10: Personal Space

    There are times that students need you near them and other times you need to keep your distance. Everyone is different. I know a wonderful teacher who never leans over a kid but sits next to them. This is comforting and the students respond. Do not hover.

    These 10 rules are fairly simple to write but they require your full attention during the day. Students will trust you if you have their best interests at heart. They will not opt-out if they know you are going to help them.

    Bonus: Enjoy Your Own Lesson Plan

    You've planned and practiced, now fire up the enthusiasm and enjoy the lesson. Your enthusiasm will be infectious. There is nothing worse than a downer teacher - enjoy yourself or get another job.

    Note: This article assumes the view of the teacher. For a learner's view, visit Classic Education.

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  2. Robert Heiny

    Robert Heiny Research Scientist of Learning and Education Flight Instructor

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    Useful list for a good point. Surely, teachers don't ignore students?
  3. LPH

    LPH Flight Director Flight Instructor

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    Oh - I've been in enough classrooms to watch teachers intentionally ignore select kids. The seating chart is a telling sign. Good administrators know to ask for the seating chart.
  4. Robert Heiny

    Robert Heiny Research Scientist of Learning and Education Flight Instructor

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    Why does this happen? Incompetent educators? Malpractice?

    It results in rationed learning, so why not call it what it is?

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