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Should You Yell at Another Teacher's Class? What To Do Instead

Teaching can be joyful and rewarding, but there are going to be days when kids drive you a little bonkers. That’s just part of the job. When it’s your own class, you have rules and rewards and a system to support you. But if you’re pushed to the edge by students in another classroom, it’s easier to feel frustrated faster. Unnecessary noise, whether it's an excited buzz or disruptive clamor, can test the patience of even the most seasoned educators. 

So here’s the question: should you raise your voice at another teacher's class? 

Understanding the Value of Noise

Before we dive into strategies for handling noisy classrooms, let's acknowledge the elephant in the room: not all noise is bad noise. In fact, some noise is a sign of active learning, collaboration, and enthusiasm. 

Happy learning noises, as I like to call them, are the sounds of young minds at work, exploring, questioning, and discovering. So, the first step is distinguishing what kind of noise you’re dealing with. 

Communication Is Key

Think about how kids typically respond to an adult yelling one-on-one. Not great, right? So just because students are in a group doesn’t mean that angry words and a frustrated adult won’t still have that negative effect. 

Rather than resorting to yelling, effective communication is the cornerstone of resolving classroom noise issues. If you are bothered by the sounds from another teacher's classroom, consider having an open and respectful conversation with that instructor. Share your concerns and ask if there are specific reasons for the noise. It could be a collaborative project, an engaging discussion, or an interactive learning activity.

If you need to address the students directly, start with a request. Begin by showing them respect and see how they respond. 

Collaborative Solutions

Once you've established open communication, work together to find solutions that benefit both classrooms. Collaborative problem-solving fosters a sense of community among teachers. It demonstrates a united front in maintaining a positive learning environment for students. 

You could establish designated quiet hours for both classes, allowing for focused instruction without stifling creativity and collaboration during other times.

Noise Control Strategies

If communication doesn't fully address the issue, it's time to explore practical strategies for noise control. Here are some activities and techniques your entire teaching team can use together to maintain a peaceful classroom atmosphere:

1. Quiet Signal Games:

Introduce a variety of fun and engaging quiet signals that can be used to regain the class's attention without resorting to yelling. For example, you could use a wind chime, a gentle hand clap pattern, or a call-and-response routine that students enjoy.

2. Noise-O-Meter:

Set up a visual noise-o-meter in both classrooms to help students self-regulate their noise levels. Designate different zones on the meter, such as "Whisper Zone," "Normal Talking," and "Silent." This provides a visual cue for students to monitor and adjust their noise levels accordingly.

3. Brain Breaks:

Incorporate short brain breaks into the daily schedule. Activities like quick stretches, mindfulness exercises, or a few minutes of silent reading can help reset the energy in the classroom and reduce noise levels organically.

4. Noise-Cancelling Strategies:

Invest in noise-canceling materials, such as rugs, curtains, or acoustic panels, to absorb excess sound. These can be strategically placed in both classrooms to create a more acoustically friendly environment.

Keeping Saftey in Mind

While maintaining a calm and collaborative approach is generally encouraged in the teaching community, there may be rare instances where raising one's voice becomes necessary for safety. In emergency situations, where immediate attention is required to ensure the well-being of students, it may be acceptable to use a loud and assertive tone to convey important instructions.

However, this should be a last resort, reserved for situations where the safety of students is at immediate risk. Even in such cases, open communication with the other teacher and a follow-up discussion to address concerns can help maintain a positive working relationship within the educational community.

Nurturing a Positive Educational Community

Collaboration and understanding between teachers are essential for creating a positive and effective learning environment. Instead of yelling at another teacher's class, take a proactive approach by fostering open communication, exploring collaborative solutions, and implementing noise control strategies. 

Remember, some noise is good noise – it's the sound of young minds actively engaging in the learning process. Teachers can create a harmonious atmosphere that benefits everyone in the school community by working together.

Written by Brooke Lektorich
Education World Contributor
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