Written By: A.G. Storm
At some point in your lifespan you had at least one teacher who mastered this and could stare at you with that gaze; that intense, I can see right inside your head stare, and you would do anything in class just to get your teacher to stop focusing on you and move on to someone else.
I have a friend who told me once he actually practices the stare in his bathroom mirror sometimes so he can get it just right; not too mean but serious enough. Now, I can honestly say I never felt the need or desire to practice the teacher’s stare in my bathroom, or anywhere else for that matter, but oh how I’ve used it over the years, and it works wonders. This really is one of the simplest and most effective management methods at your disposal.
For example, Jane is gossiping with her friend that’s sitting next to her…again. She’s not really all that loud, but together they are slightly disruptive and definitely off task. Instead of dealing with Jane and her friend, like chasing a fly with a baseball bat, you choose a simpler method of classroom management. You plop down on the corner of your desk and stare in their direction. You say absolutely nothing, not even a whisper. You just sit…and… stare.
It doesn’t take long for another student (will call him the scout) to notice your posture and focused concentration, follows the invisible path from your eyes to the intended victim, and then he quickly spreads the word…psst.
The secondary guard hears the warning, looks up, and manages to get the attention of Jane’s friend, who then without even glancing up realizes she’s busted, caught in the act with no possibility of escape, lowers her head in moderate blushing shame and points her nose straight down to the textbook.
Jane, also realizing that she’s been spotted, looks up to see you, and she’s immediately faced with your wonderfully well practiced, highly intense, eyeballing teacher’s stare. She tries to muster a defensive smile as she looks up at you hoping that her baby-blues will somehow melt your defenses so she feels the sense of “yes, I won.”
However, you don’t cave in, and like a Las Vegas professional poker player you say absolutely nothing. You don’t smile back, and you continue to give her…the stare. Jane, rather quickly, realizes her smile, her cuteness is worthless with this teacher (you), decides to cut her losses, and points her nose down to the textbook and gets back to work.
You, the master and commander, the headcheese, the big boss, the king/queen of your domain, the teacher, feels a growing sense of confidence. You just dealt with a simple, but what could have been a serious behavior problem if it were allowed to continue, and you nipped it in the bud quickly, effectively, and you didn’t even have to utter a single word.
Alex is a graduate of the University of Maine at Machias, and he has been teaching middle school children for over a decade. Currently Alex teaches social studies to 7th & 8th grade students at the Thai-Chinese International School in Bangkok, Thailand. His first book, “I Teach Middle School & Fear Is Not An Option, A Handbook of Ideas & Suggestions for The Novice Middle School Teacher” is scheduled for publication early October 2012.