Historically I was never a big Sherlock Holmes fan. But with the recent movies and two TV series, my interest has grown. His methods, insights and attitudes are intriguing.
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What I have come to realize is that many of the tools Sherlock Holmes uses for solving a mystery are also wonderful tools for helping a class run smoothly. We just need to look at them a little differently and apply them to our challenge of teaching a class effectively as opposed to solving a crime.
Two days ago I started this 3-part series by defining categories of difficult students. As I said in that piece, my classrooms rarely have any challenging students; my secret is stopping the behavior before it starts.
Another way to think about it is
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” — Benjamin Franklin
Adult students rarely (if ever) have a goal of being the most difficult in class. They become challenging as they start exhibiting certain behaviors, often unconsciously in response to a variety of circumstances. Classroom management for adults doesn’t have to be a challenge; by creating an environment from the beginning where those behaviors are not tolerated, they just don’t appear as often.
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I recently heard an interview with Tom Jones asking how long he intended to work. His response: “I haven’t worked since 1968!” For me, teaching feels the exact same way, and I consider myself lucky. Most of my income is generated from doing something that I love and it rarely feels like work. If you want to learn tips for how to teach a class so that you can love your work, keep reading.