I have been an educator for 7 years and every year before this year I have decided the rules and had them posted when the students came in the classroom. I have also hidden parts of my past from my students because I did not feel like it was important for them to know. I decided to change that this year.
I started my classes today by giving my students the basics about my life and then I gave them a motivational speech. I told my students that I expected them to bring their best to every class we had together. I told them all that I believed in them and that I knew they could be their best. Then I told them the story of how I had ADHD when I was a kid. How all my teachers hated me and didn’t want me in their classrooms but, I was where I was today because I made the decision to educate myself and better myself. The kids looked at me in awe. I think the fact that I opened myself up to them let them know that I respected them enough to tell them such a personal story. I also feel like students need to know that you care about them and have faith in their abilities to build a relationship with them.
After my motivational speech I did something that I have never done as an educator. I let the kids help me create the agreements for the media center. All the students agreed to follow the agreements they made. Behavior was ten times better because the students made up the rules. If they broke one all I had to say was this is not the agreement you made.
Building relationships with students and allowing them to take some ownership of how things should run seems to have created a more peaceful environment in the library.