Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Use FLIPS To Manage Disruptive Classes.

Use FLIPS To Manage Disruptive Classes.
I always feel bad to see a teacher who goes off in class because of student behavior. Although some of the actions taken have been harsh, I always feel as if the teacher bears the brunt of the situation deescalating. As a man who has led groups and taught in Title 1 schools, I am better placed to talk about student misbehavior. As a youth coordinator with the Full Gospel Mission Cameroon, I never had any rebellion during my time, but there were always rebellions under my predecessor and my successor. As a teacher, I think I can count how many referrals I have written in my 14 years of teaching. The strategy has always been imbedded in what I call Foresee, Life Lessons, Interest, Peace and servanthood, with the acronym (FLIPS). If you think that my theories cannot work, call me and I will implement them in any of your worst classes for free for two weeks. That way when I fail like you (just kidding), you can shut my mouth. Until such times, you should learn because the master teacher is speaking. This is not arrogance; it is just confirmation that teaching runs in my veins. Therefore, let us put FLIPS into action.

1.      Foresee and preempt trouble (I Sam 25:34, 40).
                 As I was calling the roll, one student said, “Maria, Maria, have you ever seen you dad lick your mom? Maria retorted, “Why are you asking me that in public?” She told her, "It just came to my mind." I gave her a devil stare, and she asked me why I was looking at her like that.  Mid way along the roll again, another kid exclaimed, “Ah, my ass hurts!” One of them quickly snapped, “Did you take it from the back?” “One time when I took it from the back, my ass hurt me like 2 weeks.” She added!I am talking here of Midddle schoolers. I laughed and asked them why they talk like that. They explained to me that it was their habit to talk like that. I asked them what their teacher thought about it. They told me that, she could not do anything about it. “No one likes her!” A student interjected. 
              Abigail was married to Nabal whose name meant “a fool.” He was son of Belial but wealthy. She knew that his foolhardiness would kill him and her one day, but his wealth was too appetizing to pass by. As a result, she preempted his foolish behavior by seeking to mend fences with David, without telling Nabal. (I Sam 25:23-31).
When you come into a behavior classroom, you should always recognize that they have some potentials. You should not allow their bad behavior to discourage you from tapping their good qualities. Let them know that you believe in those good qualities. Secondly, immediately you enter into the class, call the attention of the trouble makers to catch their attention. I will say, " Son, I want you to work well because I want to tell you a story. Each of you will maintain your seats, but you will lose the privilege of sitting where you like, if you disrupt the class." It has always worked, no matter the students.  

2.      Life lessons are always imbedded in my classes.
                I remember when I just began teaching. I realized that each time I shared a life lesson,  the kids paid more attention than the course work. All human beings face the same needs in essence, but they are merely manifested in different forms. Consequently, every time you have a group of people, everyone is hurting, one way or the other. Through these life lessons, we build the self-esteem, emphasize their self-worth and refuel their self-efficacy. Life lessons will encourage the building of strong families which will create happy people. Students will learn to trust their parents more and look unto adults for guidance. In the course of building their self-esteem, we show them that except you fail, you cannot have a past to talk about. Many teens think that their self-worth deepens on how they look, how much they know, or how much their families are worth. A person’s self-worth is the life within that is equal to every other life out there. It is not valued or comparable to anything. Therefore, life lessons a day will greatly help to stabilize the class because they tend to see that you have their interest at heart.

3.      Make storytelling one of you most efficient teaching techniques.
I had just entered into a class, and the kids began to scream, “A new sub you all. I asked them why they said that. About 9 of them answered, “You are the third in three days.” I asked them what happened to the other two. They said, “They did not like us, and we did not like them, so we ran them out of here.” I said, “Oh, ok I see.” I began to tell them a story about a little bird for about 5-7 minutes. After I told them the story, they were very quiet as we worked and finished the work. They begged me to come back the next day, and I went there. The class was very well behaved the next day.
Storytelling is my most reliable technique. I learnt this one from Jesus Christ (Mk 4:34.). v         Mark recorded, “But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.” Everything that Jesus did as a principle will work in any society. Children and people like stories, so you should garnish your teaching with storytelling. When I come to a very bad class, when I am calling attendance or once I enter, I can know whether I should start with a story or end with a story. With poorly misbehaving kids, I start by telling them a story, then I end the story half way and tell them to finish their work, so they can hear the entire story. For the good kids, I tell them towards the end of the class. It has always worked.  

4.      Make peace your mantra.
              You should always bring peace with you everywhere you go. A soft answer will turn away wrath (Prov 15:1). One day, a student said to me, “Nigg... Shut the fu.. Up.” I asked him who he was calling nigg..., and he reiterated, “You, Nigg.. motherfuck...” He repeated boldly and provocatively! Hahahahaha. I looked at him and playfully said, “Son, I am not sure you are calling me nigg...” He said to me, “If I call you nigger, what are you going to do?” I replied, “Let me hear it.” He began to rap an impromptu song, "Nigg.., motherfuck.., what you gonna do, nigg.., nigg.., nigg.., what you gonna do?" After he finished, I offered him a dollar for his creativity. The class revolted and asked me how I could reward bad behavior.
The next day, the young man came to class and apologized. I later gave them life lessons about how to deal with provocation. He even became the peace keeper of the class. An adult should always play the role of an adult. You see, I did not even write the student up because such a student does not need deformation; he needs reformation.
             A week later, I visited him in their house. I met him outside hanging out with his friends. When he saw me, he was surprised. He asked me what I came to do, and I told him that I had come to pay him a visit. I hung out with them, chatted and tried to lift up their spirits. Until I left the school, he passed regularly to say hi to me.
           Once the students turn in their initial questionnaire about them and their parents, I consult their records with counselors, so I know how to deal with each of them. To those whom much is given, I ask for much, but to those who less is given, I ask for less. However, the academic standards and requirements are the same.

5.      Self-control. 2 Samuel 16:5-14 Shimei insults David.
               David had the power to cut off Shimei’s head for insulting him, but he recognized his position as a servant and let God deal with it. The last thing you should know as a teacher is that you are a servant. You are not a CEO, boss or drill sergeant.
              One day when I went into a class, the kids began to shoot paper balls. One of them hit me on my back as I was writing my name on the board. I looked at them and laughed. I asked them who did it, but they had a code of silence. I picked one of them and asked her where she came from. She told me, and I appointed her as the assistant teacher. Everyone wanted to be the assistant teacher. One person told me that if I made her the assistant teacher, she was going to tell me who did. I told them we should continue because someone was going to tell me. Rather than wait for them to be ousted, it would be honorable for they themselves to tell me. One student stood up and told me that he was not aiming for me; he wanted to hit another student who had hit him. I joked with him about learning to make his shorts. He, the one girl and I made paper balls, and we aimed them towards the trash can. After that, we went ahead with the class which went so smoothly and quietly, until they were begging me to come back the next day. I always let time deal with certain behaviors because my goal in life is to reform and not deform. The letter of the law kills, but the spirit vivifies. In this case, instead of getting mad or writing the student or berating the class, I appealed to their conscience in a very subtle manner that secured the peace of the class and gave us a conducive learning environment.
               Do you have a bad class? You should use FLIPS as your magic wand. You should always try to preempt trouble in the class in a high risk school. Teach your students life lessons. Show the students that they have potentials as you find a special interest in each of them. You should endeavor to embrace peace, share peace and give peace a chance at all costs. Finally, you should never forget that a teacher, albeit has authority is still a servant to the students, school, parents and community.  If you implement them and they do not work, I will be willing to help you at all times. If I fail, I will reimburse whatever you expended on my trip.

Until then, let us make teaching a blessing and not a curse.

St Arrey of Ntenako.

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." (I Cor 15:19). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Hamilton Ayuk. Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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