I raised my voice

I raised my voice

It happened. I raised my voice during class. I promised I would never be the teacher who yelled, so I’m disappointed to say the least.

I don’t feel good about it, but I also cannot beat myself up about it as I know that I am learning. I clearly lacked other skills/options in the moment, and in that particular moment, I did the best I could.

How it happened

For the last few weeks we have been working on finishing a writing assignment I gave during my short practicum. Yesterday, I did a mini-lesson on sticky points I’d been noticing in student work, and then I gave students the remainder of the class period to work on their writing.

Throughout the quiet writing time, students were goofing off, talking with their neighbours, and generally not doing much work. I kept asking students politely and individually to get to work, but moments later, they would be goofing off again.

I had not experienced this during my short practicum to this degree, so I was surprised. Nothing I seemed to do was working. They had just had recess, so I did not feel it was appropriate to have a brain break.

Fifteen or twenty minutes into the quiet writing period, after perhaps eight-ten various requests for silence, the class again was erupted into chaos, chattering, goofing around. So I yelled. I said, “I am not impressed. I have asked you many times now to be quiet.” I said this loudly using the angry tone my mother always used with me. It was the first time speaking in this way to the class.

Fortunately or unfortunately, it worked. Like a charm. Ugh… I feel so torn about it. The students were absolutely silent for the rest of the period. Everyone got to work and the class buzzed with productivity. It was remarkable and felt like a small miracle.

Why it happened

I’m not sure why it happened. I have been thinking about it and here are some possibly related factors:

  • I myself have lost some enthusiasm for this project. It seems to be taking forever and I’m not sure how much the students are benefitting from the work.
  • I did not engage the class as I normally do at the start of lesson, checking in and doing a grounding activity.
  • The students had just come from recess, so perhaps they were overly excited.

What now?

I have considered apologizing to the students on Tuesday when I see them, but I don’t think that’s a good idea. On the other hand, I do feel that want to address what happened.

One thing I find very frustrating is that I am only in class once a week, so my bond with students, which had been very strong by the end of the short practicum, has really weakened.

I’m going to school again this week and I think I would like to spend a portion of my lesson time reconnecting with students before we get into any lessons.