Let your speech set the pace

 
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I learned about the power of my voice during my second year of teaching. It was well past the first week of the new school year and my throat was still sore. So I asked an experienced colleague if our teacher bodies just get used to the rough-and-tumble of classroom life, and she gave me advice that became a prominent weapon in my classroom management arsenal: “When they get louder, you get quieter.”

So I tried it out… and it worked. When one side conversation morphed into half of the class talking while I was teaching, I lowered the volume of my voice. One by one, conversations stopped and student necks craned to hear me. The hum of the conversations softened until there was silence.

I always remember this quote (and channel my inner yoga instructor) when I lead an ASSET tool. I let my speech set the pace. I speak slowly, softly, and deliberately to create a peaceful and intentional classroom climate. ASSET time feels different than regular class time for a number of reasons (I turn off the lights, my students can get into any posture that feels comfortable), but my encouraging and soothing voice is one of the biggest reasons why students feel comfortable enough to try out different tools.

 

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About the Author

Gina has taught high school English for nearly a decade and recently discovered the power of social & emotional learning after embedding ASSET into her classroom culture. She now serves as ASSET’s Director of Programs and brings a teacher’s perspective to curricular and professional development materials. In her free time (when her bouncing baby boy is sleeping or in someone else’s arms), Gina loves to read, cook big family dinners, and get outside with her husband and dog.


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