Thursday, March 3, 2011

Today, they learned something!

I know they size me up. Most of my teaching career, actually most of my life, people have taken one look at me and thought they knew.

Knew I was soft.
Knew I was shy.
Knew I couldn't handle it.
Knew they would eat me alive.
Knew that I didn't stand a chance.

But it's them that didn't stand a chance. My classroom discipline motto has always been to speak softly, and carry a stick of chalk. Because I don't need to yell. I have other ways of getting what I want.

I am a manipulator. I foster relationships with my students so that they want to make me happy, make me proud of them. If I don't get what I want, I make it very clear that 1, they've disappointed me, 2, they should be disappointed in themselves, and three, they'll only get out of life what they put in. My genuine praise of them makes it this way. And it helps that I'm an expert at guilt trips. Learned from the best Catholics!

Here's two examples:
Tough guy in cross country tells off a janitor before practice after she yelled at him to get off a table. I made it clear he needed to apologize to her. He did. No yelling.

Dance team seniors want "a life" and only want to perform at 5 home games. I bargain for 8. They ended up with 15 performances. Manipulated.

So now I am the only female coach for track, in charge of mid distance and distance. I feel I'm taking some grief from the guys. They don't know me, they figure I'm no expert and they don't need to listen. The first practice they had me we did a ladder up to 600 meters. After we got to the top, my declaration of heading back down was met with groans and whining. After some warnings from my cross country kids who know better, it continued. To which I said, "Oh, I'm sorry! Did I say 400 meters? I meant 600! Here we go!"

But today, after a few cocky comments and not paying attention, I gave them a very hard day. They learned after the 5th hill to stop asking when they'd be done. They stopped complaining by the 9th hill. They started listening to me on the 13th hill. After the small hills we headed to the notorious "Dam" hill, which is painfully long. one asked if that was our destination. I smiled and they replied "Yay?" (as if saying, oh my god I'm going to die, but I'm going to try!). I rewarded them by telling them instead of 2 hills, as I had planned, because they didn't complain, they would only do one. And finally, after 17 small hill sprints and 1 "dam" hill, when asked if they were tired, they said yes. When asked if they had a hard but good workout, they said yes. And finally, when they were asked if they were done, one said, "NO!". I smiled and said I loved the attitude, was proud of them for working hard and not complaining, and that yes, they were done! They told the head coach they had a great workout. I think they learned something today!

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