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  • Writer's pictureJulia Maloof

That "Told Ya So!" Moment

The most challenging thing about teaching by far has been classroom management and its sometimes complicated strategies.

My name is Julia Maloof and it took me until today days old to really believe in the power of positive praise. 🙄It seems simple and obvious. It's what everyone tells me and all other new teachers. I think this is the most important thing that Netta Rappaport told me in my student teaching, but it still took me until today for me to really get it. 🙃

I knew in my heart that the most important thing for a student to hear is "You're important...your efforts are seen...I love how you made that choice" etc. It has allowed me to have conversations where the students are actually listening to what I am saying instead of being stubborn in order to protect themselves. In order for this realization to set in, I needed to spend lot of time with these students to understand that it could really work for me and them to use positivity in behavioral management.

Now here's the hard part of this realization...even more mental work for me. That is, I need to be sure that I don't let my anger get the best of me. I was listening to a fascinating NPR podcast about the necessity and also the trouble with anger. It got me thinking to how angry I get on a regular basis at my job. That's the thing that causes me to feel burnt as toast. If I have a way to harness this energy, then I could really change these students' lives. In the podcast, they really point out that anger is natural and necessary for pointing out issues of injustice in our lives. When it is blown out of proportion, that is the thing that really makes it an issue. Why is it that the thing that sets me off the most could seem the most inconsequential to the students (and maybe even passing staff) in the moment? The answer is to really try to not let these little things bother me. The fact that I am a new, excited teacher makes me a very sensitive candidate to be affected by little things that anger me. I have to up my confidence and make it contagious so the kids have no choice but to do the right thing, listen, and make good choices.

It is going to be hard for me to stick to this regiment, but I believe that if I really make this a main focus of my lessons, then students will be more likely to be involved in the learning. Additionally, this could allow me to build those positive relationships between students. After all, music has been used for centuries to affect behavior and mood. My goal is to let my students be inspired positively by music and music making and take this attitude into their lives.

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