Last night I had a dream, well you could call it a nightmare.
I am a teacher and last night I dreamt that all of the students at the school rebelled. They picked up whatever implements they could find: rocks, steel, pieces of wood and started to throw them at the offices of the school. They were so angry. They threatened us with bodily harm if we moved and trapped us in the office. There was no one to call. They prevented teachers from using the phone and crying out for help.
Dreams manifest in our minds during our sleep about situations which concern us. In our profession of education, teachers are crying out. We are being disrespected by students, by parents, by members of the general public and worse by other institutions. Our lessons are not interesting enough. We deny that violence goes on in our schools when it is experienced on some level every day at many educational institutions. We are blaming everyone for everything and the crisis is not being dealt with. The crisis can be summed up in one phrase: a lack of control.
Without control there is chaos. Order gives a sense of security and with security comes peace. Instead of blaming all of the stakeholders involved in education, we should slow down and ask what can be done to deal with the crisis.
The impact my dream had upon me caused me to awake much earlier than I am used to and research classroom management techniques. I came across an informative website and instantly subscribed to receive weekly articles via email. One theme struck me:
Whenever you feel like you’re losing control of your classroom, it’s because of something you’re doing–or not doing. It’s not about your students. It never has been and it never will be.
It’s about you.
And another theme that will give me and I hope the rest of my teaching colleagues a fresh perspective and hope:
Your job is to teach, inspire, and hold accountable—which is completely in your control. When you focus your physical and emotional energy on these three core responsibilities, and determine to turn the rest over to your students, your stress will all but disappear.
Your students will feel the burden of responsibility for learning and behaving settle upon their shoulders, where it belongs. Their respect for you will soar. Their sense of independence will swell.
When a situation is taking the path of a downward spiral, we must stop, reassess and slow down in order to maintain that control. After regaining control, we must vow to never return to that situation again. Every stakeholder in education should have a clearly defined role. Each role should be known and more importantly reinforced by everyone. Teachers have a syllabus to get through in a certain time frame. Students must learn and be held accountable for their education. Administrators and members of the public should place their support behind educators and leave them to do the job which they are trained to do. Parental support is of utmost importance for the home is the bedrock of the society. Education begins in the homes and is refined in the schools.
Finally, a word of advice from the Scripture, that should tie the ideas of this article together:
And I will leave it at that.