The teacher in the classroom can be firm but should act gently, all the time. He’ll be moderate but demanding and firm.
Behavior management has to be firm but gentle, polite and nice. Because you love your students with benevolence love, which as you may know means to wish what’s good for your students: bene-volence, well-willing, willing what’s well.
I knew a teacher who was rather kind of a sergeant with his young students, and that’s not the way. And he changed, and changed his mind, and now his students rather love him, and wish what’s good for him.
We teachers have to strive to be direct and firm but gentle in manners, which isn’t mannerism, in a pejorative way. You gain more with an affectionate word than with thousand bad ways and manners. Behavior management is wanted because the teacher wants what’s good for his students, for his real and individual students. And this implies and entails addressing them in a nice way, doesn’t it?
The teacher has to gain his students, not for adulation but because he or she wills what’s good for his or her students. Also this implies speaking in a moderate way and volume: you gain more with a rather low but firm volume than by shouting, because among other reasons if we shout, what else can we do then?
I knew another teacher that once said, in order to pacify his class: Everyone has one point less in your last exam. Well then, what can they do if some of them got 5, which is the pass grade in Spain, out of a total of 10? The kids that got 10 would have 9, but what about the kids that got 5? Are they 4 points, which mean fail?
In case you’ve got to apply some corrective punishment or the like, think of something you CAN apply. However in case you’re moderate but firm, punishments will be rare… In cases of offenses or infractions better (maybe) the school admins should assign such punishment, I’d rather propose.
Summing up, let’s be firm but gentle, and thus we’ll gain a moral authority, also because of our professionalism in the classroom. / Photo from: if-ladder_jaroslaw_hawrylewicz 2013 Everest Expedition International Mountain Guides. The picture is just a nice and interesting illustration you can enjoy.