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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Teaching Well: Training and Self Discipline

There is an element of training when it comes to teaching, and in my opinion, it's not the best part of the job. Yet it's an important part of the job.

We know the teachers that are good "trainers" as they have students who typically are very polite, clean up after themselves, use quiet voices in the hall, heed directions well, and follow needed classroom routines.

The same is true for parents--we notice parents who train their children well. Those children are typically very helpful, use polite language, complete their assignments, and follow appropriate routines.

Of course when it comes to training there's a difference between training as teaching and training as commanding. The teachers who do this well spend the time up front at the start of the year and throughout the year reviewing directions and helping students to follow the routines well.

I can't say I'm the best trainer as a parent or a teacher. I have always been a fan of creativity, letting children run the show, and playful environments. Early in my career, I didn't think that training and creativity could go together, but the more I teach, the more I recognize that good training leads to good discipline and good discipline leads to good behavior and good behavior leads to classroom and home settings where there's room for greater creativity, playfulness, and children-centered/focused environments.

When children don't know the routines or how to behave, there is more chaos and when there is more chaos, there's less opportunity for creative, child-centered, engaging lessons.

So where does this leave me as a parent and a teacher?

As a parent, I am fortunate to have a spouse who grew up with a good dose of discipline and training. That's rubbed off on me and my children. In school I'm surrounded by educators who are good at developing students' sense of good behavior, manners, and self discipline.

While I rarely am without creative ideas or playful endeavor, I always have to work on the part of teaching that includes establishing positive routines, encouraging self-discipline, and working on good manners. I know that self discipline and creativity/playfulness need to go hand-in-hand in successful classrooms, and I also know that when children are both creative and well mannered/disciplined, doors open up for them in all kinds of situations.

As I always say, we are never without lessons to learn as teachers or parents. That's both the glory and the challenge of the job. Onward.