7 Connecting Habits of a Lead Teacher

In our classroom management course this week we were talking about setting up classrooms that avoid punishment (punitive discipline). I had the opportunity to review the works of one of my favorite researchers, William Glasser. He was a great educational thinker and often stated that we will not improve schools unless we provide curriculum that is attractive to students, use nonpunitive discipline and emphasize quality in all aspects of teaching and learning. The portions of his research that had the most impact on me over the years are his standards for separating ‘boss’ teachers from ‘lead’ teachers.
Boss teachers rely on what Glasser calls the 7 Deadly Habits: criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing, and rewarding students to control them. I think we are all familiar with teachers that fall into this category.
Rather than falling into the rut of being a ‘boss’ teacher, Glasser suggests that we become, ‘lead’ teachers. A lead teacher relies on the 7 Connecting Habits: caring, listening, supporting, contributing, encouraging, trusting, and befriending. The most successful classrooms are the ones led by lead teachers.
I have told my student teachers that if they start using one of the deadly habits, combat the temptation with one of the connecting habits. Our goal is to be lead teachers and provide a nurturing atmosphere for the students.

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11 responses

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I will work toward becoming a lead teacher with these 7 habits:)

  2. Great advice. I've always felt that anybody can scare or bully a child and get them to comply for the next twenty minutes. But, in the long run, you've lost them. They have lost their respect, faith, and confidence in you as an adult. It is far better to take the time, patience, and empathy needed to build the authentic, more effective relationship with kids.Chris BowenAuthor of, "Our Kids: Building Relationships in the Classroom"

  3. I'll be using these seven habits when it comes to my early education program! Thanks!

  4. I found these 7 habits very interesting. I had not heard of these before and I think being a good disciplinarian in the classroom, but also rewarding positive behavior can have a big influence on the kids. Students will want to do well (for the most part) if there is a reward for them. If there's nothing in it for the child, where is the encouragement to do well? You need to criticize them a little and give feedback so they can improve.

  5. Thanks for sharing these 7 habits of lead teachers. I think that it is so easy sometimes to fall into the habits of "boss teachers" in the busy routine of every day. I will share these 7 habits with the teachers that I work with.

  6. Great article. I have just finished my preprimary clinical practice in a classroom where the host teacher modeled the 7 habits of a lead teacher that you spoke of. I will remember her words and your article during my career.

  7. I believe this has been my style without knowing. It is a respectful approach and children need to learn that respect is a give and take thing. Yes it can be challenging to when dealing with challenging behaviors. I see like this.. We encounter adults everyday with challenging behaviors and if we dared to bully them into doing what we want we wouldn't be very successful. We just might have a fight. instead we talk to them and we treat them how we want be treated.

  8. It can be hard sometimes to not fall into the "boss" teacher mode. Keeping a good attitude about life and work can really help keep you in the positive "lead" teacher postition.

  9. I definitely agree, an early childhood educator must use positive and encouraging words to their students. Children need encouraging and caring teachers that are willing to help any child that comes in their path.

  10. I am a mentor teacher and am always looking for new approaches to provide constructive feedback. I recently visited my mentoree’s classroom and observed on several occasions her use of the bully approach when dealing with problem behaviors. Your post will be a very valuable tool for me in supporting her to create positive methods in dealing with problem behaviors in the classroom.

  11. What I found interesting is that I have been both of the kinds of teachers you described: the "bully" when I felt bullied by administration or surrounded by frightened colleagues and a "lead" teacher when I felt validated and valued by my administration and colleagues. It is very difficult to come to work in a place where your spirit is not nurtured but tortured and be expected to nurture a group of "seedlings"… Virtually impossible unless you pray hard at work! LOL

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