You as a Teacher
Making the Choice to Teach Good Choices
Your desire to contribute to your group and your area is wonderful and we hope that the impact on the children and the community is tremendous. We want to focus on you as the teacher and your attitude towards the program and the students.
It is very important that you stay true to yourself as the teacher. You are the first example of each precept these children will see, and if you aren’t being true to yourself, children will see through the facade. Really familiarize yourself with the booklet before you start the program and be honest with yourself about what kind of teacher you are and work on leading them by example first. If you are more lenient, be lenient but make sure the disruptive child is aware of the choices he or she is making to be disruptive and how that is affecting the group. If you are more strict, be conscious of that and focus on patience. Remember, this is a club, not a class, and the children have made a choice to be here. Treat them with respect first, and work within the boundaries of the precepts to gain their respect.
Regardless of your teaching type, it is important for the children to know that you are hearing them. By acknowledging what they are saying, you let them know you are listening and that their input is important. Acknowledgment isn’t the same as agreement, but rather a simple way of saying “I hear you, thank you for contributing.” And leave it up to them to evaluate the goodness or badness of their choices. Rather than tell them they made a bad choice, ask them whether the choice was good or bad.
This will also help a great deal with keeping you engaged throughout the meeting time. It is vital to stay engaged and be interactive. It helps to maintain a fun atmosphere in the group as well as helps to validate the kids and their ideas. The environment is made safe, but not by the over use of control.
If you have other teachers in the room, work to include them in the session and be careful not to delegate everything to them and use the time to do administrative work. Make sure that everyone in the room, teachers and students, are engaged at all times.
Finally, it is important to make the most of your “teaching opportunities.” This will come as a byproduct of being engaged. You will be aware of opportunities to move from one precept to another as the opportunity or need may arise. Every situation with a disruptive student is an opportunity to teach and to learn. Think about ways to get the children to look at things in a different way, with new eyes so to speak, to help them to understand the weight of their choices and the ways those choices affect the people and things around them.
Good luck and have fun.