10 February 2006

Company Manners

Why is it that teachers get apologetic when their students behave like...students? Is there some reason why we should expect that a class would act better with a guest teacher or speaker than on a regular day?

I went out to a new-to-me elementary school this afternoon in order to work with a group of fifth graders. They had lots of energy, all focused in a good way. I could never complain about some youthful enthusiasm---especially when it comes to science. But their teacher seemed to be embarrassed from time to time. I tried to reassure her that kids were just fine.

I suppose it all stems from wanting to show off our students at their best. We'd like guests in the classroom to think that we have "raised" our kids right. And we have. Kids are just kids. I'd like to think that visitors understand that company manners don't necessarily mean that kids will be seen and not heard.


Christine said...

Ha! I had a case of that myself today. I'm piloting new technology in my classroom. Today was the first day and in my last period class I had 3 visitors.

I was worried that the first day would be a disaster, as it involved a lot of mundane sort of stuff with the kids. They mostly behaved well. For me, I want them to behave better for other people because I tend to have very laid back sort of classes that some administrators would freak over.

When I know I'm going to have a visitor I tell them they're going to have to "behave normally, so you could blend in with the public at large if necessary." That gets a good laugh, and they know I don't say it often, so they try harder anyway. ;)

Amerloc said...

There's a difference between "family manners" and "company manners." Most of us want our students to put on their "company manners" for guests, and when we get a guest like you, who comes in and just joins the family, it can feel a little awkward.

graycie said...

Yesterday I spent some time reassuring a new teacher who had just been observed by a hall principal. Her kids had been talky and silly and playful and hadn't responded with the enthusiasm sor the involvement he had wished for and she was afraid that this would reflect badly on her teaching.

I told her that principals know that kids are kids and that when they aren't at their best, what matters is how she handles the situation -- sometimes the best and most 'correct' thing to do is abandon the plan and pull the little cherubs back into line.

I know that all principals (and supervisors) really don't know this, but it is nice to read one who does. Kudos to you.