Let us look at some interactions that should be eliminated completely or minimized:
1. INTERACTIONS WITH TOO MUCH COMMANDS AND REQUESTS
Teachers should make every effort to keep all commands and requests to a minimum. It is generally better to use less disrupting or annoying verbal prompts to get the children to do what we require them to do. Teachers should favor requests over commands and reserve the commands for more serious situations. Also, we need to be careful not to use the power of our voice volume. We do not want a military school teaching environment and I am sure the child when they see you coming that they will head the other way.
2. COMMANDS OR REQUESTS THAT ARE EXCESSIVELY LOUD OR GIVEN AT A DISTANCE
These types just add to the noise level in an environment and make it an unpleasant room. Even when said nicely, a loud request given from across the room does not teach independence and disrupts the environment and may make children feel like they are being “yelled at” even if you start the request with “please.”
3. TEACHER TO TEACHER INTERACTIONS
In general, personal interactions between you and other teacher or aide should be limited to break time. It is OK for teacher to teacher interactions, if it is related to the job but it should be brief. The primary responsibility is interactions with the children.
*Note-Be careful telling a child to sit down because they are interfering with a teacher to teacher interaction. If you need a moment to talk to someone ask the children (child) to please engage in some activity or another and tell them exactly when you will be done talking and that you will go talk to them as soon as you are finished.
*Note-Talking about a child’s inappropriate behavior in the child’s presence should be eliminated entirely. For many children, it provides a great deal of reinforcement centered on their inappropriate behavior and may even allow some inappropriate behavior. Avoid statements like “Boy Melissa, I sure am glad you don’t try to pinch your arms anymore. That was pretty terrible!”
*Note-Talking about a child like they are not there or ignoring them is rude and can make a child feel kind of low at the same time. It is OK to say some things about the child to another staff but it should be done in a way that includes the child and acknowledges his presence and his feelings. Example: Teacher to another teacher: “Cassidy has been working very hard to get her alphabet letters (turns to Cassidy with a smile) isn’t that right Cassidy?” Ask a question to the child so that they know they are included in the conversation instead of being treated like a conversational piece.
4. Nagging which means to annoy by persistent faultfinding, complaints, or demands. Nagging may be repeated several times and even louder. It is only necessary to speak to a child once or twice at the most that they hear.
Example: Sally is supposed to pick up the books: “Sally! It’s time to pick up those books.” “Sally! Didn’t you hear me? Pick up those books!” “Come on Sally!” Sally, when are you going to pick up those books?” Remember, we want the child to want to do things either because they like to do them or because they get something good out of it.
You as the teacher still might think that this certain child still won’t do anything well and thus the cycle continues. When we only see the negative, the negative keeps growing! Children need attention and they crave it. And if doing well isn’t getting it, the children will find some other method of meeting their needs and those choices usually drive us crazy! You must catch children doing something good and acknowledge the behavior. Once you do this, good behaviors will increase in numbers. When this happens, the good things seem to slip by without notice because it is a relief to not to have to deal with behaviors. So, sit back without the binders and really watch the children. See what he/she really is doing throughout the day.
DON’T TAKE THINGS FOR GRANTED! SEE IT AND PRAISE IT!