Plaisance: Teachers gather to hone methods
When little Johnny shows up for class this coming school year, he may well find his new teacher with a new attitude.
“I know I need classroom management,” said Celina Richard, who has been a teacher for 29 years. “Every year you get a different set of children. I’m hoping that what I learn here will allow me to do more teaching and less disciplining,” she said.
For two days this week, 81 teachers attended a classroom management workshop at Plaisance Elementary School. It is the second year the school has conducted such a workshop and the only one offered on discipline methods.
Of the 81 teachers: 49 were from St. Landry Parish schools, eight from Lafayette Parish schools and 24 from Evangeline Parish schools.
“I took the five-day course last year and when I heard about this one I decided to come,” said first-year teacher Dana Richard. The workshop proved to be more than just a review though, Richard said. “It’s really helpful. A lot of the visual students respond better and you learn a lot of other teaching methods to reach all types of students,” she said.
Author and trainer Michael Grinder said he tried to pack as much as he could into the two days, but the real key to the successful practice of techniques is follow-up observation.
“You can have a good workshop but without the coaching you will not have the high quality,” he said.
Mary Yenik, a former corporate trainer, is the person to whom follow-up coaching fell last year. As a Plaisance resident, Yenik first took an active interest in the community school after retiring from work two years ago. She is the person responsible for bringing Grinder to the attention of Plaisance Elementary School Principal Larry Watson.
Last summer the school used state funds to pay teachers stipends to attend the workshop. State funds were also used to pay the $35 cost for books, in which there are self-evaluations forms that help teachers to target weak areas.
In November, Yenik and Grinder joined with some educators and business people they knew professionally and together formed, “Classroom Strategies Foundation,” a soon to be nonprofit that pays for training and coaching for teachers.
This year there was no money to pay the teachers or Grinder. Yenik said the foundation is waiting to receive it’s nonprofit status any day and hopefully after that it will be able to start seeking funds. Yenik picked up Grinder’s fee herself.
The teachers came anyway and the schools picked up the costs for the books. Loretta Williams, a 30-year teacher said the workshop provided suggestions on how to avoid direct confrontations and how to address a problem in class with less talking. The idea is to settle the issue quickly and move on, she said.
“It is very good,” said Fern Georges, a three-year teacher. A workshop such as this would be helpful for any teacher, especially first year teachers, he said.
Article from dailyworld.com
Jacqueline Cochran, Staff Writer
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