Teachers are as bad, maybe worse, when it comes to forming stereotypes of other teachers. I admit to being guilty of this myself on occasion, though I really try not to. The truth is, we are who we are. Our personalities outside of the classroom can't help but find their way into the classroom. This is why classroom management is such a difficult thing to "teach" teachers. I truly believe it's a journey that each one of us has to take as we figure out how to blend our personality with our leadership role in the classroom. One size does not fit all and no two teachers will run their classroom the same way - nor should they. For some reason though, when others do things differently than we do, we are quick to point out how what they are doing is wrong - what we really mean is that it's wrong for us, while it may be right for them. The most important thing is that the teacher is creating an environment in which students can learn. Beyond that, how the classroom runs and the relationship between students and their teachers tends to form based on what message that teacher wants to send.
So, yeah, I get hugs. I get hugs because I make it a point to communicate to students that I separate them as a person from their academic performance. That I may like THEM and not be happy with their grades. That I may like THEM and not be happy with their behavior. This has freed me up to be able to discipline students in my classroom without them taking it personally. I don't get called names (usually) and I don't have students that refuse to hand over cell phones (most of the time). I did get a death threat, but only once, and it came in the form of a drawing of me hanging by my neck from a tree. The authoritarian approach doesn't work for me - I am 5'4", I am friendly, and it takes a lot to get me angry. I am also a horrible actress, so faking it doesn't work for me either. I had to figure out that building relationships with kids was the best means I had to control what they did in my classroom. Hugging is a side effect, and I accept the risk just as the teacher that yells and screams accepts the name calling and death threats.
What is your classroom management style? What works for you? Leave a comment below to let us know!