Have you ever seen the Dog Whisperer? It is one of my favorite shows! It is also a show that has changed my pedagogical persona as well. I am always trying to make connections when I learn something, so I can better acquire the knowledge.
The show, The Dog Whisperer, promotes the idea of calm, assertive energy to better connect with your dog and properly discipline when needed. Alright so if I take that idea from the show and apply it to my classroom it makes perfect sense. Alright, I can feel that disapproval wagging its finger from here! I don’t think my students are dogs or I should treat them as such. Mary, my childhood dog pictured to the left, would be a really cute student in class but my students are human beings; I should treat them with dignity and respect using the correct decorum.
I can use this idea of calm, assertive energy for how I present myself in class. My students don’t speak English natively, so they will not understand everything I say. I get around this by using gestures, drawing on the board, and physically showing them. This calm, assertive energy comes in handy when I need to do any discipline in class.
I remember when I started teaching I had no confidence or experience. Everyday, the kids would eat me alive and my classes would get wildly out of control. The class always unraveled because the kids picked up on my body language and “tells” of nervous, timid energies as an inexperienced teacher. If I look back on my past, I am dumbfounded by why I acted like that. Why couldn’t I just be confident from the start? It is incredibly hard to be confident when the community around you is so foreign, new, and full of uncertainties.
Well, as I sat watching episodes of The Dog Whisperer, I yearned for a dog to care for in Japan – cheating on my two loves back in the US. This idea of calm, assertive energy crept into my pores and my classroom management got way better. Day after day I became more confident, but I surely missed my dogs back home after each episode.
So remember to be confident in your classes if you ever plan to do any teaching. Your students will respect you and will listen if you show a clam, assertive energy at all times. And, Cesar, I am sure that both Daddy and I agree; Thank you.