Lippy Kids: How to react in a positive way

Lippy kids bug me.

When a kid is defiant,
my face tenses up.
My voice tightens.
My whole body stiffens.
I want to push back.

That’s exactly what the kid wants.
That’s exactly what doesn’t work to alter the situation.

Truth is, some kids are sassy.
It’s my job to respond in a calm manner to avoid escalating the situation.
It’s my job to remind them to use respectful words.
It’s also my job to build relationships with kids so that they respect me as a teacher and don’t resort to back talk.

To do this takes practice. It also takes some reflection.

What is it about lippy kids that bug me so much?

Truth is, I grew up with lippy brothers who picked on me relentlessly.
When kids are sassy, especially boys, sore feelings from long ago resurface.
Now that I know this, I am calmer and more relaxed around these kids.

This has already made a huge difference in my teaching.
Kids intuitively know what bugs teachers and once
I stopped bracing for trouble, their behavior altered.  In fact, one
student even read a book with me, something I never thought would
happen.

Thank goodness I can change.
Thank goodness kids are so understanding.

Diane Schwartz is a K-5 teacher at the Goodman Community Center in Madison, WI.  She leads hiking, skiing and biking adventures.  In her spare time, she sells bubble wands and does outdoor consulting. She doesn’t take any lip. For a free 11-page Bubble Activity Guide,  just go to the home page and subscribe to this blog.

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