When I first began teaching, my mentor told me I should tape record myself when I teach a lesson. She felt it would give me helpful feedback. Have you ever done that before? If not, you should try it sometime. I was surprised at how much information I gained by doing this. It was the beginning of my first year, so classroom management was definitely a weakness for me. I noticed that my voice got louder when my students’ voices were reaching the “danger zone”. (Cue: Top Gun music and picture Tom Cruise) The danger zone is that point when you completely lose control of your class during a discussion. What begins as a lively discussion, quickly enters the point of no return. I found if I spoke in a quiet voice, my class was quieter. If my students were getting louder and louder, I got softer and quieter until my class was back under control. It sounds counterintuitive, but try it sometime and see if it works with your students, too.
Do you ever have those days when you are teaching and you feel like all of your students came to school with cotton balls in their ears? They haven’t listened to a thing you’ve said! Those are my “Charlie Brown” days.