29th March 2013 at 00:00
The problem - One of the first rules of teaching is not to show emotions such as anger or fear in lessons. I could do with some tips on achieving this, particularly at the end of a day. I'm in my fifth year and confident in most of my classes, but there are a few where I face an onslaught of questions, moans and problems. Before I know it, my emotional brain goes into panic mode. How can I deal with the many interactions that go on in lessons and stay cool, calm and collected?

What you said

Don't be controlled by your emotions but act them out in front of the students when you deem it necessary. Are you telling me that people respond to automatons? If you have influential students who are emotionally damaged or incapable, you need to be businesslike. But other than that, act out the appropriate emotion when appropriate.


Have clear routines and sanctions. Know in your mind what these are and apply them calmly. Also consider what you could do to make life in general less stressful. If tiredness is setting in before lessons are out, you may need to cut your workload or make sure you are unwinding at night.


The expert view

Your dilemma is common to us all. But if you know what you will do in advance of the situation, you will be able to handle it more efficiently. However, for the more erratic children, I recommend:

1. Tactical ignoring. If a student thinks it is cute to shout out, I refuse to respond until I am ready. Then I usually give them a cautionsanction for shouting and remind the class that I do not respond to communication that is not properly conveyed. It is amazing what this strategy allows you to ignore.

2. Follow up on that. Make sure that any students who shout out or repeatedly forget things spend some quality time with you in detention or tidying up. They quickly learn to change their behaviour.

3. There is no point getting stressed about things that aren't directly within your control. Their behaviour is their responsibility. What you do next is yours. Good luck.

Tom Bennett's latest book, Teacher, is out now, published by Continuum. Post your questions at www.tesconnect.combehaviour

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