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Using Personal Stories to Encourage Good Behavior

By Earlene Coleman, Special Education M.A.

After teaching Special Education for twenty-five years, I've found that sharing personal stories with my students helps build positive relationships.

How NOT to be around your students

Now that the school year is off to a start, teachers are busy getting to know all their students. However, spend some time letting your students learn about you. Tell them about where you grew up, your family, about your children, your favorite ice cream, and what your hobbies are. Maybe tell them about what type of child you were. 

One year, I recall describing in detail how I had a tantrum on my mother because I couldn’t go outside to play with my friends when she wanted me to do my chores. All my students thought it was very funny and shared what makes them act out. This sharing was beneficial. Remember, at the beginning of the school year, you are a stranger to most of your class. These conversations will help build positive relationships with students that will pay off later.

Therefore, let your students know you are will to be understanding, calm, and patient like many of their parents. This can prevent many future classroom disruptions. Do not think your students are miniature adults. They do not have experience in dealing with their emotions. You will see some tantrums but if you react appropriately, consistently, and let them know you went through the same things they are when you were younger, the disruptions will diminish or stop altogether.


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