Thursday, September 4, 2008

silence is golden

so this year there seems to be some issues with volume in the classroom. i struggle with this internal conflict on a daily basis. i have tried a "noise-o-meter", frequent warnings, group incentives, etc. nothing seems to work so far! the students are ridiculously loud, loud enough for me to actually mutter "you have given me a headache!" however, a large percentage of the time they are actually on task while talking ridiculously loud.
when the lovely school counselor taught a fantastic lesson on self-control, ironically she was rudely interrupted numerous times by students yelling out whatever thoughts came into their minds... i was so embarrassed! it makes me look like i allow them to do whatever they choose (which is not the case)
in sixth grade my science teacher had this hand-made "silence is golden" sign that he would place on his lab table when he wanted students to be quiet. if a student earned three strikes from talking, he would have to write "silence is golden" the deemed number of times, typically 100-200. however, there were times when he would warn "it's quadrupled for today!" he was scary! i did admit to being caught SEVERAL times talking when "silence was golden". did i learn any real lesson from that? absolutely not... and now that i look back as a teacher- i think it was an even worse idea! i don't want to stifle enthusiasm, yet i don't want to have impolite interruptions and a loud environment...
so how am i supposed to find a balance between "silence is golden" and total and utter chaos?

1 comment:

organized chaos said...

I struggled with this SO MUCH as a classroom teacher. It was so hard to find that line. If they are talking and engaged it is a fabulous thing, but when they get too loud, another matter. A lot of the time I found myself more worried about the noise level simply because of what other teachers would think if they walked in. The noise wasn't distracting other students (and if it did we had a "quiet work space" where the kids could put on headphones and listen to classical music while they worked.) but it made me feel like I didn't have control of the classroom~ even if the kids were on task and engaged. I constantly battled with the loud and engaged will = better learning than quiet and day dreaming. Most of the time I had to check myself and realize that the only reason I wanted them quiet was so that others wouldn't think I was a bad teacher. (part of how I came up with the name organized chaos. It may look like chaos, but I promise I know exactly what is going on and am in control).
Then there were the children who just were so loud they couldn't help themselves. Sometimes I'd make them read into a piece of pbc pipe so they could see how loud they were. (For the record it didn't work: they would just say "that hurts my ears!" but never learned to self-monitor.)