Wednesday 11 April 2012

Your teacher tone is your friend!!

One of the toughest and most interesting tricks I have learned over the years is to make the most of my teacher tone!!!  Tone of voice is one of the key methods of management I use in my classroom.  I can express many different emotions.  I can inspire and I can convince.  I can bring tears and I can create laughter.  BUT....if I need to make a point about something serious such as a safety issue I bring out my "I Mean Business" voice.  I don't raise my voice, no, no!!!  I say what I need to say with confidence and all the seriousness behind my words so my students understand I mean what I say.  I make eye contact as I deliver my message.  Most importantly, I end on a positive note and my tone reverts back to a cheerful and easygoing teacher!

Just a small warning - you may think you are using a positive "I Mean Business" tone already.  However, if your children are not displaying the desired behaviour, take a step back and assess your teacher tone.  If there is any hint in your voice that you are unsure of what you are requesting this will have an undesirable effect.  If your tone suggests that your request is an option or one of several choices, rethink your delivery.   For example, it may come across as: "Put away your pencil box, if you want..." or "Pick up your jacket, please??" Often, we think we are being loving or we don't want to sound too harsh.  Sometimes, I am worried about who is listening and how they will judge me.  In reality, this "loving" tone is confusing to children and they will take advantage.  Children prefer a straightforward, confident tone that suggests there is no room for other options.  This kind of tone inspires content and safe feelings - the adult is giving clear, decisive directions - no need for the child to do anything but feel safe and well-looked after.

So remember, you are a wise and loving teacher who only wants what is best for your students.  If what you have to say is important for your students's learning or safety, speak with passion and concern, no matter who is listening.  Your teacher tone is your friend!   Use it to your advantage!!