The Ultimate Classroom Management Challenge: Teaching In The Hormone Zone
Teachers, it's the ultimate challenge in classroom management, isn't it? If you find it challenging to teach and counsel students suffering from "hormone poisoning," here are some great interventions to help your teens use their heads instead of their hormones. All of these delightfully different methods are taken from Youth Change's Solution Center; there are hundreds more there if you need them:
When kids debate your site's standards regulating romantic contact, inform them that the standards derive from the work world, not your personal preferences. Advise your youngsters that as soon as business work places commonly permit hugging, kissing, etc., you will too. So, in our part of the world, we tell kids that the very instant that our large employers like Nike, the State of Oregon, and Intel, start offering Coffee and Kiss breaks, we'll do it too.
Work a Little, Kiss a Little
Ask students to name all the jobs they can successfully do and gaze longingly into someone's eyes while working; there may be none. Ask your youngsters to guess what happens to people who work a little, kiss a little.
That Other Fire Will Have to Wait
Have your students name the jobs or businesses they may one day wish to do. Ask them to identify the results of kissing, hugging, etc. while working these jobs. For example, what could result from a fire fighter, surgeon or air traffic controller being distracted by romantic activity at work? Have students answer that question humorously by determining what the distracted worker might say when asked to concentrate on work. Elicit silly answers, such as the fire fighter responds with "That other fire will have to wait."
Would You Ski in Class?
Ask students if they would ever cook breakfast during your class or activity, or practice the clarinet, or ski? When they say "no," ask why. When they tell you that those activities don't belong in class, you can respond that neither do kissing, hugging, etc. Note that you are not commenting on whether the romantic activity is good or bad, but that class or group is the wrong time and place, just like it's the wrong time and place for skiing or making toast.
Elbows to Fingertips
A quick and easy-to-remember guideline for interpersonal contact at your site: Touch only from the elbows to fingertips, and then, only after asking and receiving permission.
This intervention is designed for boys who view girls as mere toys. Ask the young man to describe how he'd react if someone took advantage of his sister (or mother or daughter.) Elicit answers that show that he wouldn't tolerate such behavior. Remind the young man that every girl is/will be someone's sister, someone's daughter, someone's mother.
In Case of Hormone Overdose
Years ago, families reliably taught their offspring what they needed to know about interpersonal behavior. Those skills are not always reliably taught at home these days. You may want to make it your job to teach what the family should have taught. Remember that telling youngsters "what not to do", may not be enough to change the problem behaviors. Be sure to teach them "what to do" instead. Be sure to cover these: Hand Control, Mouth Control, Distance Control and Clothes Control.
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Ruth Herman Wells MS is the director of Youth Change, (www.youthchg.com.) See hundreds more of her innovative, problem-stopping interventions at Youth Change's web site www.youthchg.com. Ruth is the author of dozens of books and conducts workshops, inservice, professional development