As a teacher I understood that it was not my student’s job to teach me, but they did. It was during my first job at an after-school daycare that I, the teacher, learned an important lesson. That day, I was tired and irritable and I let it consume me.The children were being loud, and rowdy, and well… they were being children.
They all froze. One of my most well-behaved students slowly sat down where he had been looking through books on the bookshelf. He raised his hand, “Miss… why did you yell?” His voice was shaky and my nerves were fried. I do not know why I yelled. “Well, because you all were being disruptive and not considerate to the surrounding classrooms.” We shared a wall with a room full of one-year-olds. I asked them all to find their seats; I knew my behavior had to be explained. I calmly said, “I am sorry for yelling, but I needed you all to be quiet. I am not having a good day and I want us all to have fun together, but that does not mean that we have to be loud.” The same boy raised his hand again and said, “Miss, you are scary like a witch when you yell.”
I admit I laughed a little bit.
His honesty taught me an important lesson. Yes, the tables turned, and the teacher went home learning an important lesson that day. Yelling and raising your voice in the classroom does not create authority, it creates a sense of fear.
Teachers do not need to yell. Teachers do not need to be “scary like a witch.” Teachers need to be calm. Teachers need to be understanding. Here is an article that I wish I would have read before yelling at my students. There are always alternatives.