During my working years, I used to come home for almost every vacation. Home = India. Though away only for a few months abroad, almost as soon as I land, I’d (or rather my ears) would start noticing (or protesting !) the high noise levels in our country. I said ‘ as soon as I land’ because, we love to switch on (or just take it out, because many never switch it off) and start talking even while the plane is landing. Sometimes, I have started noticing the high noise levels at the check in counter (to India) of the airport abroad ! We are a loud country, man ! On the roads, Horn OK Please is the mantra ! 🙂 So, I am going to talk about the noise challenge today. For the roads, the only way to protect your ears is to wear earplugs that filter out most of the noise. At School, you use classroom management techniques.
As a new Teacher, one of the first things I found (still find !) challenging was the high noise levels in the School. One really can’t compare this to the noise on the roads. This is different. If the School caters to many students and medium of instruction, there WILL be noise – kids will be running around, talking, playing, screaming and having fun. Over time, the Teacher gets used to this but when it comes to one’s classroom, if it is not managed, it can become difficult to handle. Inside the classroom, the children are eager to get your attention – they want to impress you, get you to check their work, show something that they brought to school, complain or complement someone or just have your affection all to themselves at times. Multiply this by 40 and you get the picture (or sound !)
This is where classroom management techniques help. Right from day one, if a Teacher sets the rules, positive and negative consequences and expectations clearly with the children, noise levels in the classroom can be managed. This might sound cliche for some of you, but, believe me, it does work. Children have so much energy. They just want to talk, scream, play, run and just use it all up in the school. As a newbie teacher, I have found this baffling. How do I get them to sit quietly ? Do they have to sit quietly? Is the kid who is quiet a good kid? How much noise is OK ? Is a quiet classroom, a good classroom? Or, as Nisha put it, ‘it is better to have productive chaos than unproductive peace’ in the classroom !
Over these four months, I have begun to understand that the trick lies in not suppressing (their desire to talk and scream) but to channelise the energy – let it out in a creative way through a game or a ‘shout-out’ time-out when kids just scream it out for 3 minutes and start winding up with a 10 to 1 count down by the teacher. There are just so many such tricks on the net. A teacher just needs to figure out what works for his/her class.
Still, at the end of pretty much every day, I need half-an-hour of silence and peace and I often get it in a tea shop or a nearby restaurant. This time also helps me to reflect on the day and see what went well and what didn’t. As time goes by in the School, I have found that my tolerance for noise comes down. But, this tolerance and the noise level seems indirectly proportional ! Kids are the noisiest towards the end of the day 🙂
So, if you have a teacher in your family, please do be kind to him/her and be gentle to their ears. Will you? 🙂