“When I went into high school teaching for the first time, I had a dream that I could work in close harmony with my pupils. My prayer was that what had happened to many of my own teachers would never happen to me. They treated the teaching profession as just a job. There was absolutely no relationship between them and their pupils. Many of them spent as much time trying to control classes as they did teaching.
Unfortunately, in ten years, I, too, had become cynical about my pupils and about their parents. For me, also, teaching had become a job, and I only looked forward to being away from my pupils.
When I first trained in Parent Effectiveness Training, I discovered an invaluable principle. It is a principle which applies to parent/child, teacher/pupil, manager/employee relationships: If I can relate to another person as a decent human being, my “productivity” will be every bit as good, if not very much better than before–and so will theirs.
Teacher Effectiveness Training gave me the skills to keep my relationships vibrant in the classroom. The results were startling! It took so much tension out of teaching for me.
But, great as Teacher Effectiveness Training was for me, the combination of Teacher Effectiveness and Parent Effectiveness was the answer to all my dreams. Can you even imagine what would have happened to those 25 students of mine if both I, as their teacher, and their parents worked together out of love for those pupils. Surely the combination is an answer to so many of the problems of an educational system that keeps trying to solve human problems with more technology and more money!”
– Paddy T., teacher and school headmaster, Dublin, Ireland/Chicago, Illinois
“I had come across some of the T.E.T. core skills before I did the course, but it was great to get the refresher, the update, and the bigger picture of how to use them for cooperative relationships. I had also used group ground-rules before, though not in the cooperative way which the T.E.T. rule-setting method works. Only since doing the T.E.T. course in October have I put all these skills together as they were intended.
Here’s one example: It began when my dysfunctional 9th grade class got worse, with a rise in complaints from the girls about how some of the boys were treating them. I introduced the rule-setting meeting with an I-Message about my concerns, and stating my overall goals for class as being safe and enjoyable for everyone. I also explained the method and its rationale in simple terms.
We then had fifteen minutes available which was just long enough to draw out the main problems from each side (some boys raised complaints about the girls, too) and outline what they wanted instead. I wrote these up and asked everyone to think of ‘Class Rules’ we could apply, ready for some brainstorming at the next class.
I thought it might turn into an issue between five of the girls and a particular group of boys (I was dusting off my T.E.T. mediation skills!) but when I checked the next day, others said they wanted a class rule about it, too. Brainstorming, then evaluating and choosing ideas eventually boiled down to four “how to show respect” rules which actually applied to far more than just the boy/girl problem. It’s not the rules, but the discussion that’s important!
This session used every one of my T.E.T. skills, and took almost half the period to complete. But it was worth every minute because it improved the tone of the class for the rest of the year. I did a fair bit of reminding at first, but much less than I expected. They really were more considerate (it became “uncool” not to be) and actually worked harder. We added a couple more rules for other issues as the term went on, and I think they learnt an important teamwork life-skill, too.”
– M. Kapua, Teacher, Auckland, New Zealand
“Having once taught physics and math at the high school level, I thought my greatest achievement as a teacher would be to have graduated students knowledgeable of such material as Newton’s laws and quadratic equations. In hindsight, although subject-specific information is certainly important, if I had to choose with what knowledge and skills students left school, I would choose communication skills. Such skills promote the most effective discipline–self-discipline–in school as well as in society. Until something better comes along, the communication model I would use would be Gordon’s.”
– Robert T., as quoted in his book, Classroom Management.
“I have always thought that what a teacher needs most is passion and knowledge of the subject he teaches. But after taking T.E.T. I now realize that not only the teaching method but also the communication between teacher and pupil is the most important thing in teaching.”
– N.T., Teacher, Tokyo, Japan
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