Behaviour Management Tips from Dan

One of the most desired, and often needed skills in teaching is behaviour management.

And if this is something I was taught when studying teaching, then I don’t remember.

It’s so personal, it’s like teaching someone how to walk. Like sure, there’s this whole foot in front of the other thing but the way a person swings their hips, scrapes their feet along the ground or stomps about is completely up to them. And this isn’t even taking to account the fact that you are dealing with people and apparently you just can’t shout out, ‘For fuck’s sake, please stop talking, you’re all very annoying and it is taking all my willpower not to walk out right now’.

The reason I bring this up is because I feel like watching Dan Andrews (Victoria’s Premier) deal with things has been excellent Professional Development when it comes to behaviour management.

On Wednesday, after we had our earthquake Dan tweeted the following:

No mess, no fuss. Just facts. This tweet was followed up with a suggestion that people keep an eye on Emergency Victoria for the latest info.

In order to contradict myself, I did just have a memory of someone who came to uni or work or whatever and taught us some behaviour management tips such as when a student walks in late, instead of asking ‘why are you late’, you say ‘you’re late’, take note of the time and deal with it after. Now, anyone who has ever been in a classroom knows they can be extremely hectic and so I have tried this with varying levels of success. It’s awkward because if you can’t make a note of it then and there you can’t walk up to the student and say ‘what time did you walk in because I’m going to pull you up on it later’. It is also very obvious and frustrating to say, ‘maybe you would be on time if you did not go to McDonald’s and get an iced latte before school, also you would’ve had to work an hour to afford that, is that what you would like to spend your time working for?!’ Even though the price of hot chocolates is getting so high I may need to get a part-time job to pay for my habit.

The main thing I love about Dan’s Behaviour Management approach (which is what I will rename his general behaviour in dealing with the press and public) is that he is consistent. Which again, I feel is very important, something people talk about and research but I am just mentioning as if I discovered it. I did not. I am impressed that Dan is not very tired and bored by everyone and has the energy to be consistent. As a teacher, there are things you may rely on time and time again such as standing behind the student who will not stop talking. This, if you’re wondering, is a great non-verbal cue. Then there are times you are thinking to yourself I will stand here and wait for them to be quiet and the class takes your silence as permission to keep bloody talking. Ironically, with online learning we are all desperate for them to say anything whatsoever. This is a meme I sent to my friend at work and we laugh about it all the time before we silently sob:

I am going to spend some time thinking about what Dan would do if faced with a bunch of people on Zoom who refuse to turn their cameras on but perhaps compared to what he has to put up with, that would be heavenly.