Saturday, November 20, 2010

Maslow's Hierarchy of Need

As part of Phase II of my teaching, we have to post regularly on a message board about our experiences and comment on others' posts.  One fellow cohort, who has annoyed the crap out of me since Day 1, constantly brags about how great she is, how well her students behave, and how impressed Admin is with her.  Now, it is of note, that she doesn't have a full time job and subbing, no matter how often or long term, is a whole different ball of wax.  Anyway, she posted about how fantastic her classroom management is and how "you could've heard a pin drop" while she was teaching.  Wow.  That's fantastic.  Meanwhile, in my classroom, I am happy if I go a whole day without having to kick someone out of the classroom or write a referral!

With no disrespect intended to anyone (because teaching even in ideal circumstances is a tough gig), I teach at one of the most difficult schools in the area with the exception of the city schools.  The student population and what they are dealing with has a lot to do with how they behave in school.  My first week in my licensure classes, we learned about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  The basic idea is that if you don't have your basic needs fulfilled-- such as those essential for survival and comfort, it really impacts your ability to do anything else.  I see this first hand at my school. The usual techniques just do not work with these kids and you really have to do some creative thinking.  I am dealing with a whole different set of kids who have a whole different circumstance out of the classroom.

I had an older, seasoned teacher remind me of something the other day that I had not considered.  Yes, the kids talk and joke around and play--part of that is because they ARE kids and sometimes school is the only place they get to be one.  I have kids who leave school and are dealing with poverty, abuse, working 40 hours a week plus going to school, taking care of siblings, taking care of their own children, living in their car or hiding out because they are in the country illegally.  School is possibly the only place they feel safe enough to act like a kid--talk, laugh, goof off and be irresponsible.  Yes, I totally find it annoying and frustrating when they think my class is the place to goof off when they are there to learn.  However, you have to look beyond the behavior and consider the whole condition of the child.

So, in closing, I'd like to see how that woman does at my school subbing and if she could hear a pin drop in her classroom.  At my school, its so difficult for subs that we have trouble finding any and teachers end up filling in for each other when there is an absence.   She's welcome to come try.

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