- Tips For Maintaining Your Power In The Classroom

Maintaining classroom order depends upon the teacher's ability to maintain his or her own state of inner order, which can be described as a state of authentic peace and poise.

Some students are quite skilled at "triggering" teachers out of their peace and poise and into a state of insecurity.

These bossy or defiant students effectively trigger the teacher's insecurity by creating classroom disorder with impunity.

An extreme example of this is the seventh grader who recently tried to disempower and intimidate his teacher by taking over the class.

His teacher felt publicly humiliated and was stunned into speechlessness as the precocious 13 year old brazenly stepped in front of the class, explaining that he was the one in charge now.

Understanding where a behavior like this is coming from can empower a teacher.

One probable motivation behind the student who tries to run the room is the student's need to regain the sense of power and self-respect that someone has stolen from him.

He may be getting bullied at home. He may feel intensely deprived of something that he thinks all of the other kids have, like a happy and harmonious family life.

Whatever this student's background, he's obviously being driven by the urge to compensate for an inferiority complex that has been programmed into him.

When we understand the motivation behind a student's behavior we can come up with a way to satisfy the motivation that effectively defuses the student's drive to use inappropriate behavior to get what he is after.

In the midst of classroom chaos, though, it can be hard to play child analyst. It is easier to let our emotional reaction get the best of us.

And yet, that may be the most important time to maintain self-control.

You encourage the disruptive student to press your insecurity buttons when you become insecure in reaction to the actions he uses to usurp your power.

The moment you start trying to prove your power you stop really being powerful and begin giving your student more power over you.

When you worry about proving your power in the classroom you are being distracted from using your power to make a real, positive contribution through your teaching profession.

This not only lowers the real value of your labor; it also makes your labor unfulfilling.

You weren't hired to prove your power or your worth to your students. You were hired to do your best teaching in line with the needs of your students.

As long as that remains your primary focus and intention you will act in real integrity in the classroom, which ultimately brings honor to oneself.

To recognize exactly WHAT is truly needed from you in the classroom, you need to maintain your peace and poise.

Just by remaining calm you discharge the student's incentive for trying to take your power, because you are showing him that his efforts are not working.

Beyond that, self-confidence is a foundation for competence. You have to feel secure about yourself to do your best work, to access your highest level of creativity and problem-solving ability.

If you maintain your composure you can be most effective at coming up with ways to help your students feel as powerful and in charge as they need to feel while preserving the classroom order necessary for successful teaching to take place.

The simplest method for doing this involves giving the student a voice. Take time after class to help the student to clearly articulate what he really needs from you to feel secure, satisfied, respected, and supported by you.

Having calm conversations in which you discuss things clearly and without antagonism creates a positive bond between teacher and student that may defuse any possibility of future conflict.

It can also help you to better understand how to satisfy the student's legitimate need for a sense of power, control and self-respect.

Bob Lancer is a motivational speaker, consultant and seminar leader specializing in releasing the greatness in schools and families. He hosts his own motivational Radio show broadcasting to 35 states called Bob Lancer's Parenting Solutions. See his best-selling books and motivational CD's and learn more at his websites at http://www.schoolsupportmotivation.com and http://www.teambuildingtrainings.com

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