Teaching – Day 5

Should a teacher barter with students? At a certain age, kids begin learning how to make deals, they learn how to negotiate, to compromise an unfavorable situation (at least to them) to make it more appealing. But my question is more specific to the teacher-student relationship. Should the teacher be hard-nosed, only doing what he/she has planned to do; or should the students have a say in the way the class is run? The amount of bartering being done by my students has increased as the class has gone on, and I am unsure how to handle it. I have seen the unfortunate side effects of teachers who really do let the students run the class. Often the students have little respect for them and nothing really gets done. However, I know that being able to negotiate is important for childhood growth and development. I have always heard that one should start out strong and slowly give the students more freedom. It sounds nice, but my personality finds it difficult to start out “strong.” Instead, I try to be the “nice” teacher who is easy-going and enjoyable to be around. But this relaxed atmosphere often gets out of hand and I spend too much time trying to regain control of the classroom. I don’t think it has gotten to that point yet, but I fear that it may be on the horizon.

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