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    Being Too Nice
    By G.M.

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    Hi A.M.

    Carolyn is correct, you learned a valuable lesson BEFORE you get your own class! That is one of the big advantages of subbing first before teaching full-time. Be happy, not discouraged.
    Your experience was a blessing in disguise.

    Your mistake of being too nice is one that most new teachers make. That's because the number one thing we desire is for our students to like us. We fear rejection - we wouldn't be human if we didn't. But you want the students to like you for the right reasons. I know I don't have to specify the reasons, you know them. By the way, I made the same exact mistake with my first (and at the moment) only class, last year. I was too nice and boy did I pay dearly. No need to go there.

    I am subbing this year (when I get calls - they are slow in coming). Anyway, I have subbed enough to practice my new approach, which I refer to as "consistency with gently firmness." When I have to tell a student something for the umpteenth time. I do not raise my voice or use a harsh tone. I merely state whatever needs to be said with gentle firmness. I won't engage in a debate (agruing). I fell for that doing my short time as a full-time teacher. It's leads to more trouble.

    The newest book by Fred Jones has helped me tremendously. He really gets to the heart of many of the problems that most teachers experience. He doesn't claim to have all the answers; however, he addresses not only the problems, but more importantly helps you to see why and how they were most likely generated.

    So, please don't get down on yourself. Learning to teach, like anything else in life, is a "process," not an event. Some of the learning, well actually, it's likely that MOST of the learning, comes from making mistakes. Mistakes are WONDERFUL as long as you learn from them. They are a gift, really. It took me a long time to realize this (I am in my forties and a recovering perfectionist). I don't drive myself cray any longer when I am less than perfect.

    I am happy to hear that you are going back on Friday. Treat it as a new beginning, which it really is. So what if the kids think you had a brain transplant; they will survive. Moreover, it is for their own benefit.

    Let us know how things are going for you.

    Happy Teaching Trail to YOU! G.M.



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