Don’t Let Detours Become Road Blocks

The book talk assignment for Chapter 3 of Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids by Chris Biffle was to write a letter to myself pointing out two of the seven common teaching mistakes that I feel I need to change.  I know we are all guilty at some time or another of committing one of these seven mistakes, but if we keep in mind that teaching equals learning and continue to grow every day, we will find that these mistakes occur less often.  I have focused on two mistakes, not paying the price ahead of time and calling out “those” disruptive student.  To find out the other five common mistakes, pick up a copy of Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids at  . 

Dear Paige,

Wow!! You have so many great things going on in your classroom!  Better yet, now that you have introduced Whole Brain Teaching to your students, you just stepped it up a notch.  I know you always expect the best from your students and you have very high expectation for them as well, but a very wise person once told me that the day you stop learning as a teacher is the day you need to stop teaching.  Wait, that person was you and that is just like what is stated in the book Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids by Chris Biffle“Grow or die.”  So as many great things as you have going on in your classroom, you still have some things you can improve.  Two of those areas are “paying the price” before you enter the classroom so that you don’t “pay it” in the classroom and calling out “those” students in front of their classmates. 

I have noticed that when you teach, the lessons that are the most engaging are the ones that you put that little extra effort into and really planned out.  I know you have a life outside of school and I know that much of your planning time at school is taken up with meetings, but just think of that feeling of satisfaction you have when the day is done and you know your students went home knowing a little more than they did when they woke up that morning.  So I hope you can find time to at least once a day put that extra effort into a lesson that you teach.  Then guess what?  Soon you will realize that you start teaching this way all the time with less effort, until eventually whole brain teaching will become a way of life.

Think for a moment about sitting in a faculty meetings and there is that one teacher who seems to want all the attention.  Think of how annoyed you feel when your principal plays into it and continually lets that person speak.  Well, that is the same feeling that your students have when you keep playing into “those” students’ disruptive behaviors.  Just like that teacher in the faculty meeting, “those” student are going to keep seeking attention as long as you allow it.  Think of the relief you feel when your principal does not call on that teacher.  I hope that you can give that same relief to the students in your class.  It will be hard but I know you can do it.

I want to wish you continued success on your journey to teacher heaven.  I know you are getting close and there may be a few detours along the way, just do not let those detours become road blocks.  If you can spend a little extra time preparing lessons and by all means save your voice and time by not playing into the hands of “those” students, then you should have a smooth road ahead.

Your best friend, but your biggest critic,



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