This blog has gotten many new readers over the past year. Because of that, I thought it might be worth sharing a daily “A Look Back” where I share a best post from the past twelve years. You can also see all of my choices for “Best” posts here.
This post originally appeared in 2013. You might also be interested in Best Posts On Classroom Management.
An old community organizing adage goes like this:
“Sometimes the only thing worse than losing a fight is winning one.”
In organizing, that can mean your group gave so much to an issue campaign that you’re left with burnt-out leaders and a hollowed-out organization, or perhaps you burned too many bridges with potential allies along the way (it could mean many other things, too).
I was reminded of this saying when I overheard a teacher commenting that he “never let a student have the last word.”
The vast majority of the time, I don’t believe a teacher can ever truly “win” any kind of power struggle with a student. The teacher may “win” in the short-term, but the relational toxicity left behind will be long-lasting. Learning struggles and classroom management problems are likely to escalate and continue.
Dr. William Glasser suggests that most classroom management problems relate to students’ needs for power and freedom. Instead of getting sucked into power struggles with students, perhaps we should spend more time helping them feel and be powerful.
In addition to that last link, you might want to read my article, Eight Things Skilled Teachers Think, Say, and Do, to get more related classroom ideas, and/or my books.