Posted by: keepingthemistakes | March 27, 2012

On being mean

During Spring Break my kids went to the park and ran into one (or two) of my students.  One of them immediately said “Are you Mrs. Burns’ kids?” and followed up with “She’s mean.”

I don’t really think I’m mean.  But I find myself raising my voice (in order to be heard over the loud talking) more than once a day, and it has caused me to ponder.  Do the kids perceive me as mean?  Is my tone or my facial expression mean?  I don’t want it to be.  I want them to enjoy and appreciate art, and I want it to be a fun activity.  I also want them to learn, and when they’re talking while I’m talking . . . .well, they don’t learn much.

So, that’s what is on my mind today.  I think maybe I need better procedures in place for getting my classes to listen.  What do you do?  Do you yell?  What is your procedure?  I don’t want to yell.



  1. I don’t think you’re mean. I would never think that, anyway. But I think I’m mean to my class sometimes. You just have to make sure the love outweighs the sternness. I think it’s harder for you since you only have them for a limited time and you have so much that you are wanting to accomplish with them. And it’s crazy frustrating when they won’t stop talking!!

    Remind me to show you the “Tootsie Roll” chant that we learned from Dr. Jean. They like that. 🙂

  2. Oh, Beth! You’re not mean. You teach my kids. They’re mean. You’re lovely… and they love art. If you’re mean, keep being mean. It’s good for them.

  3. I’ve got no great advise for you, but a little encouragement…ezzie loves art! I think you are doing a great job!

  4. You do what you have to do to get them to start working and keep working. If my students DON’T think I’m mean, then I am doing something wrong. Ask yourself this: How long would the Zoo stay open if the animals were running it?


  5. We have a school wide procedure of making a time-out sign and all of the kids see it and get quiet. It takes TOO LONG sometimes, though. I also say “Red, yellow, blue,” and the kids respond, “I see you.” This means that they should have their eyes on me. They have to repeat it the way that I say it, too. That way there is no yelling back at me. Also, I don’t get as irritated by it, because I’ll sing it or say it in a silly voice for them to repeat back to me.
    I’m not saying that I never yell, though I am working on it.

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