Cathy Domoney

Inspirational-Speaker & Coach

Cathy Domoney is also available as a TRT and comes highly recommended! Call Today!

How 2 Create a HAPPY Class!

Copyright Cathy Domoney 2016.

Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.” Albert Schweitzer.

The first day of a new school year presents a mixed-bag of emotions for all concerned. Excitement, trepidation, fear, anxiety, hope- and that’s just from you teachers! The children feel all of this and more, including nerves at how their teacher, the one with all of the power, will be treating them while their parents are nowhere to be seen. It is our duty to make this time as happy and relaxing as possible. You know yourself that the safer and happier you feel, the more productive you are. This is something that us educators can take for granted, at our own peril! As a shiny, new, enthusiastic (and naïve) newly qualified teacher I found this out the hard way. I was assigned to the most challenging class in the school (give it to the newbie.) The very experienced teacher who had had them the year previously said at the handover, “Don’t expect too much from them or get your hopes up,” Great, just what I wanted to hear. A stone slowly sank in to my stomach and a wave of dread washed over me. On meeting my new class things were…strained. Expecting them to be difficult and hard work, that’s exactly what I got. They hated me and I hated them. I was constantly telling them off and the whole experience was an exhausting and never-ending nightmare. I was working in UK at the time and they have three terms, six half-terms. The first half term reduced me in to a depressed and stressed ball of negativity. I had definitely chosen the wrong career. On analysing myself over the half term break I realised how negative I had been and also acknowledged that I was the adult in this situation and it was up to me, not the children to make this work. I went back with a renewed enthusiasm and attitude. I decided to love my class, every one of them. I also decided to expect the best from them and to treat each one with kindness, love and respect. Needless to say it’s not rocket-science it worked magnificently well and I never looked back from that moment on. It was a wonderful year and I will always remember them with great affection and pride. The high self-esteem and confidence of my classes became my calling-card and other teachers were sent to observe me (including the teacher from the previous year) to see how to create a happy, calm and successful classroom. I have been fortunate enough to work with some very inspirational teachers. I have picked-up some wonderful tips during my years of teaching that worked beautifully for me, some of which I would like to share with you here.

Teaching is a privilege, a gift and a joy. Take care of your pupils and inspire them, their future is in your hands.

Cathy. J

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward.

Feelings Chart.

A feelings thermometer or chart can be an excellent way to keep track of how the children in your class are travelling. Having it in a thermometer format can be an easy, quick-glance,’ way to ascertain if anyone is struggling. How your pupils are feeling will impact on how they perform in class. It will influence their willingness to ‘plug-in’ and their ability to absorb and process the information that you are sharing with them. It is also a great idea to have a mini chart on the desk where they sit, including the icon, ‘I’m confused!’ This allows the children to seek help without drawing unnecessary attention.

On top of the world! (Bright Sun smiling with sunglasses.)

I’m happy and content. (Sun smiling)

I’m OK. (Sun with white clouds either side.)

I’m worried. (White cloud with a gloomy face.)

I’m sad. (Grey cloud with sad face and rain.)

I’m cross! (Dark cloud with cross face and lightning bolt.)

I’m sleepy. (Crescent moon)

Feeling poorly. (Grey cloud with thermometer coming out of his mouth.)

Feeling confused. (Whirlwind with blank expression.)

“Teach your students to use what talents they have; the woods would be silent if no bird sang except those that sing best.” Anonymous.

Celebration Posters & Tray Mail.

Celebration Poster.

This is an excellent way to boost the self-esteem and confidence of your pupils. It will need you to establish a rapport with your pupils for a few weeks and also allow them to get to know each other a little in the new mix. They need to learn how to be positive towards one another, whether they are friends or not. This can be displayed by you modelling these great behaviours. I used to tell personal stories (based in truth or not) of how when I was at school and a class mate was being mean to me, what a challenge it could be to find something positive to say. However, I explained that if you looked closely, you could always find something positive to say, however small. I would also explain that it was often the people who seemingly deserved our kindness the least would need it the most. We would talk about how it must feel to not feel like you belong and how isolating this would feel. It’s important for the children to learn how valuable kindness is, and important for that isolated child to experience it. It is great to display this work on the wall for the whole world to see throughout the year. It should be sparkly, colourful and fun. It can also be added to throughout the year.

Tray Mail.

This is also a beautiful way to connect with your pupil. When your student opens their tray in the morning and receives an envelope addressed to them, perhaps covered in colourful stickers, it is a wonderful way for them to start the day. This can be to thank the child who is consistently good (and therefore sometimes overlooked) and know that their consistent and reliable attitude has been noticed and appreciated. These are the well-behaved, on-task pupils who can receive the least of the Teacher’s attention as he/she is dealing with the challenging behaviour of others. It is easy to lose these kids through the cracks, make sure you celebrate and acknowledge their gentle, studious path through school. During my first year of teaching, I remember feeling that I knew very little about a lot and that was a year of exhausting consolidation where I felt like I was chasing my tail. My year group partner and I had streamed the ability of Literacy and Numeracy as the levels in the class were so vast. I took lower numeracy and higher Literacy. One evening I was marking the books when I came across “Gemma’s.” I sat back in my chair to the full realisation and horror that I could not even remember her being in my class that day. How appalling! I felt ashamed, I literally do not remember seeing her during that hour. Why? I was dealing with the kids who had more challenging behavioural tendencies in class. Gemma was quiet, studious, well-behaved, polite and an excellent student and on that day I had let her, and her parents down. That was like a bolt of lightning to my brain and from that second onward, I made sure that none of my pupils ever suffered from that benign neglect again. This is a wonderful way to let them know that they are valued as it is easy to let your focus fall on ‘rescuing’ the kids at the lower end of the scale and forget the guys in the middle and the top. They deserve more than that. It is also a great way to celebrate the improvements of the challenging kids. If you are going to adopt these strategies, please mark it off on your roll-call/register to make sure that all students are celebrated. They deserve it.

“I am not a teacher, only a fellow traveler of whom you ask the way. I pointed ahead- ahead of myself as well as of you.” George Bernard Shaw.


The importance of these special times with your kids cannot be overestimated. Some teachers that I have worked with over the years have been uncomfortable with this process but it is so valuable. I have seen it practised half-heartedly or not at all in some cases which is such a loss to all involved. I have always felt comfortable with opening-up with my pupils and of ‘giving-of-self.’ The children will learn far more easily in an environment where they feel safe and valued by all. For example, I was covering maternity whilst heavily pregnant myself with my third child and in the process of emigrating from UK to Australia. I was covering a Year 6 class as a job-share and they were in the process of transitioning from Primary to High school. Some information had been ‘leaked’ by the high school regarding the home class mixes for the next year. A lot of the kids were very upset as they had not been placed with their friends. I had not been involved in the list-construction but I was there to deal with the aftermath. My immediate instinct was to tackle this head-on with a circle time where we could all discuss concerns and coping strategies freely. My Year-Group partner in the opposite class at the time strongly urged me not to do this. She was the new Deputy Principal of the school who I had worked with for about 12 months. I had to clarify with my colleague whether she was forbidding me to do this as my Deputy-Principal or whether she was suggesting that I didn’t as my peer. She identified that she was not ‘pulling rank’ with me and I was free to choose but that she felt it was a mistake. I carried on and did the lesson. I sat on the floor with the children and began exploring their thoughts, feelings and fears and we talked safely, openly and honestly. I conveyed my concerns about the huge life-events that I was about to face in my own life and they advised me about how I might approach my hurdles and fears and we then used these strategies in regards to the High School situation. It was a wonderful lesson full of mutual respect and concern for each other and we concluded that we would see this unexpected event as an opportunity. An opportunity to support each other, make new friends and rise to the challenge which would ultimately make us stronger. Needless to say, my class went home that day feeling happier, calmer and more prepared for what was to come. Sure, they were still nervous, but they had a stronger belief that they could handle it. They also knew that school cared about how they felt and that their concerns were taken seriously, this was empowering in itself.

“The student armed with information will always win the battle.” Meladee McCarty.

Warm-Up Activities for Circle Time.

  • Fizz Buzz: This is where the kids all sit on the floor (which is where I suggest you sit also) in a circle and they count around the circle. Every time they come to a multiple of 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 depending on their ability, instead of saying the number they instead say Fizz or Buzz. For example on a multiple of 3, the kids would say, 1,2,Fizz, 4,5,Buzz,7,8,Fizz, 10,11,Buzz etc. It can be good fun and get them focussed.
  • Pear-Up: Get the kids in to pairs. Then label one Conference Pears and the other Williams Pears. They can either split up in to two different groups to discuss issues/complete tasks or they can pair-up with an opposite pear! It just gets them mixing a bit more and helping establish more bonds within the class.
  • Beans: The kids stand behind their seats or on their spots in the gym and then respond appropriately to the following commands;

Jumping Beans! Jump on the spot.

Baked Beans! Crouch down and get in to the smallest position possible.

Runner Beans! Jog on the spot/around the hall.

Broad Beans! Make a shape as wide as you can and move slowly around the room.

French Beans! They stop, put their hands on their hips and say, ‘Ooh La La!’

String Beans! The kids stretch up as tall as possible and walk around the hall.

This is such a cool game that my class and I used to enjoy immensely, it’s great fun.

“Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” Bob Talbert.

“Experience is the name that everyone gives to his mistakes.” Oscar Wild.

The Worry Box.

The way that children are feeling is vital to you as their teacher. It can mean the difference between actually teaching the kids or just standing at the front of the class spouting out a load of facts because they’re not listening, their minds are on other things. Sometimes they are too nervous to voice their concerns to you out loud and often the day is so busy that the opportunity is not there. I introduced a ‘worry box’ in to my classroom. A red, sparkly box that had its position firmly established in the corner and everyone knew where it was. The children knew that it would be checked every day after school. Often there were messages in there for me to read and respond to. The kids knew that this was a trust between pupil and me and that nobody else was allowed to read them. We respected each-other’s privacy.

“We ask for strength and the Great Spirit gives us difficulties, which makes us strong.” Native American Prayer.

Mistakes are great! Mistakes are fun! There are enough mistakes for everyone!

Kids (and sometimes grown-up too) can be really hung up on mistakes. This has to stop! Many people allow mistakes to hold them hostage, they begin to be so scared of making them that they refuse to take risks and so their progress can be very slow indeed. I know this because one of my own children has struggled with making mistakes and it can be a great source of anxiety for him. It prevents him from stepping outside of his comfort zone which is so important for growth. We have worked on this with him, in collaboration with his teachers, and he is much more relaxed about it now. Mistakes are to be celebrated-this is how we learn. For the child putting their hand up and having a go I applaud you! That is a scary thing to do! Now, this is where I let you know a point that I feel very strongly on, the answers given. Sometimes the kids give the right answer, great! Sometimes they give a wrong answer, creating a wonderful opportunity for a teaching point. There are times, however, where no answer is given whatsoever. Here is my philosophy on that. How brave and enthusiastic a learner must you be to put your hand up when you have no answer to give? How enthusiastic and desperate to participate must that amazing child be to put their necks on the line like that? Not me! I’m a coward! Unless I am absolutely convinced on what I am about to say to an audience, I say nothing. I play it safe at all costs. Let me give you an example of one of the many times I was faced with this situation. There was one particular kid in my class, let’s call him ‘Ben.’ Ben was a complete sweety pie, just a lovely kid who did not find learning easy but who always tried his absolute best. He would always enthusiastically put his hand up and I would choose him. Nothing. So I would say, “Uh oh has it slipped out again?” He would smile and nod and I would continue, “Not to worry poppet, if it pops back in let me know.” Sometimes it popped back, sometimes not. This would the case a lot of the time with Ben and one day at the end of the lesson I spoke to the class and said, “Ben, do you know why I just love having you in my class? Because every lesson of every day you put your hand up and try. Do you know how amazing that is and how much of a brave super star you are for doing that?” Of course, Ben would beam and his classmate would congratulate him. There is far more to being at school than textbook answers. I had another experience with Ben where a teacher visited the school regularly to teach music. This particular teacher would insist that the kids stood absolutely still whilst listening to and playing the music. Pardon? Even I had difficulty hearing the beat and not moving to the rhythm! Anyway, she was asking questions of the class and Ben put his hand up, she asked him and he was desperate to participate but alas had nothing to say. “Do not put your hand up unless you have something to say,” was the response that he got. His face went pale, he put his hand in his lap and did not attempt to participate again. My heart broke. No child should feel like that in class, ever. Our job is to make them feel that it is safe to try.

When a child gives me the right answer, it is celebrated. When a child gives me the wrong answer I thank them for giving me a teaching point and use it to further explore getting to the right answer. “Thank you Ben, you are helping me to teach this lesson.” I also used to make mistakes on the board. Why? Because it’s important to model to the children that everyone makes mistakes and it’s okay. It also keeps the kids listening and on their toes because they want to understand the concept enough to ‘catch you out.’ I would pause and say, Hmm that doesn’t look right?” Then sit back and watch those kids interact. Beautiful.

For the child who is nervous to participate I would write example questions on the board for us to solve as a class and ask from specific pupils for the method and answer. For the nervous pupils, I would tell them right away, “Fred, I am going to ask you to help me with question number 5 okay?” That would give them the breathing space to think through what they were going to say without the shock of being asked. We are there to inspire and motivate, not to put kids on the spot and make them feel bad. Hopefully, if you have created a safe classroom ethos full of mutual care and respect, most pupils will be glad to participate.

Not all pupils will respond the same, how can they? They are all individuals and you may need to alter your approach where possible to account for that. If I explained to a pupil multiple times how to do a calculation and they still were not getting it I would explain to them that the fault was mine. It was my job as a teacher to think of a way that they could learn, that was my job after all!

“There is no more noble profession than teaching. A great teacher is a great artist, but his medium is not canvas, but the human soul.” Anonymous.

Get to know your kids.

Some of the kids that you teach will already have faced challenges that you won’t ever have to. Bear this in mind when you take care of them. I found it so important to get to know my pupils and create a team/family ethos at school. I very rarely shouted and would strive to always use the most positive language that I could with them. For example, instead of;

“Why are you being so naughty today?” Try using;

“Where is my fantastic guy today? Is there something wrong that I can help with because this is not usually like you?”

I would expect the best from the children and they in return would oblige, no exceptions. If I wanted them to listen I would give them a signal (a hand clap, raising a hand, clapping a rhythm for response, saying a rhyme for response)and I would wait (with my teacher stare) until everyone was listening. No shouting needed. If they were slow to respond then I would make it fun by saying that if they responded quickly every day then each day they could accumulate a minute extra play to be cashed-in on Friday. Simple, but effective.

If you want your class to be patient, kind, hard-working and polite then you need to model these behaviours. Don’t be afraid to apologise if you get something wrong and don’t be afraid to get something wrong to model apologising! Give of yourself to the class. Obviously you have to remain appropriate and professional, but even with my relief classes, I allowed them to get to know me. I loved being part of a warm, friendly, studious class and so did the kids. It always surprised me the way that I see some adults interact with children. I have often said, would you talk to me like that? No? Then why do you think it’s ok to speak to the children like that? Do your best to have empathy for your kids and their point of view. It’s easy to get caught-up in the day to day routines and deadlines but without a healthy and class who are whole, you will not get the results that you desire.

“A mother once asked Gandhi to get her son to stop eating sugar. Gandhi told the child to come back in two weeks. Two weeks later the mother brought the child before Gandhi. Gandhi said to the boy, ‘Stop eating sugar.’ Puzzled, the woman replied, ‘Thank you, but I must ask you why you didn’t tell him that two weeks ago.’ Gandhi replied, ‘Two weeks ago I was eating sugar.’” Source Unknown.

Fake it until you make it!

When I had my own children I altered my career and became a relief teacher and I absolutely loved it. I got to go to my regular schools and felt like part of the team and I loved the time with the kids. I remember going in to teach one day for the Deputy-Principal’s class. This teacher was just lovely and so kind and loving towards her pupils, close to retirement she was wise, calm and wonderful at her job. She was all heart. She came to speak to me at the beginning of the day to tell me that three of the year 6 boys in her class had had a terrible week. She was exhausted, was glad of the time-out and wished me luck! Now, for this beautiful lady to be saying such things it must have been a tough week! One of these lads had ADHD, one had Aspersers and the other had issues stemming from home. They were big lads, they were having a tough week and I was the relief teacher picking up the slack on a Friday when everyone was tired. Super. My heart sank. I had about ten minutes until the kids came in for the day so I had to think on my feet. How would I make this work so that we could all have a great day together?

“One of the most important things that a teacher can do is to send the pupil home in the afternoon liking himself just a little better than when he came in the morning.”

Ernest Melby.

I grabbed three pieces of A4 paper and folded each one in half. I then quickly separated each booklet in to very small sessions.

Register; Assembly; Maths; English; Break; Science; Lunch; Quiet Reading; Art; History; End of Day. Etc. The sections had to be short and snappy because these guys had a hard time focussing for extended period so by breaking it up in to small chunks they felt that they could achieve a lot of positives quickly and that felt more manageable to them. When they came in to class I asked the boys to come and see me. I explained that their teacher had had a word to me about them. Their shoulders and faces sank. I explained that their teacher had said that they had faced many challenges this week and that it had been tough for them and that she was so proud of them because despite all of this, they had all shown her that they had tried very hard to make good choices. They immediately brightened. J I then told them how wonderful it would be if I could physically show her that they continued to make good choices, even in her absence. I then introduced them to the sticker charts. Every half an hour or so I touched base with these kids and gave them a sticker for that time-block. We had the most wonderful day together and the boys really did make some excellent choices.

“Life is like a camera… Focus on what’s important, Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives, And if things don’t work out, Take another shot.” Source Unknown.

Look beyond…

When your kids are ‘acting-out,’ look for the reasons why. You are a radar for your kids and the more you can tune-in to them and take the time to understand them and their circumstances, the smoother you class will run. When I was teaching full-time with my own class, I remember one particular day when one of my lads, ‘Justin,’ came in and was very volatile. He was slamming around, shoving past people and generally being rude, aggressive and obnoxious. Justin was a very large boy, tall and broad and he could be seen as quite intimidating at aged 11. I noticed his behaviour immediately, he did not come from the easiest of circumstances and my instincts told me that something had happened before school. Each class member caught my eye to alert me to the situation. I simply winked in response to confirm that I had seen it and was aware. They scurried along and got on with their tasks. I took the register and then asked the class to read whilst I talked to Justin. I asked him what had happened to my lovely, cheerful, sensible student? He broke down in to tears. His house had been raided that morning for drugs. I’m so glad that I reacted to him with love and patience, he was struggling. I could have easily simply reprimanded him for his behaviour and I would have been justified in doing so, but I would have been wrong. He was eventually rehomed to live with his Dad and was much happier.

“Teach as though you were teaching your own children.” Anonymous.

There was another occasion when one of the lads in my relief class was really quiet. He was generally a quiet boy but on this occasion excessively so. I spoke to the TA of the class and asked her to take him during P.E. time and have a chat with him under the pretence of him helping her to organise the art cupboard. I felt that he would be more likely and more comfortable in opening up to her as she was permanently working with that class and o he was more familiar with her. It transpired that he was imminently moving house and was devastated and terrified. He was sad and depressed and his parents, caught-up in the hustle and bustle of moving had missed the signs, understandably. We were then able to counsel the child on his loss and help him to focus on some positives as well as inform his parents of his concerns so that they could help him to transition in a much more positive manner.

“Act as if what you do makes a difference, because it does.” Source Unknown.

On another occasion, I was teaching a regular relief class and during the lesson one of the lads made reference to my cleavage. Obviously this was completely inappropriate and I was shocked. However, I also knew this kid and it was completely out of character. I set the kids on task and then asked ‘Jeremy’ to step outside the classroom so that I could talk to him. I explained, in a calm and respectful tone, that what he had done was wrong, disrespectful and highly inappropriate. I explained that it was lucky that it was me teaching him today because I knew that it was not like him and that I was giving him a chance because he was a good kid and he deserved it, but if he did it again then I would have to send him to the Principal. He apologised and we went back in to the classroom. He then sat down and began weeping. I was mortified. I had spoken to him gently, had done it away from the other kids as did not want to humiliate him and had expressed that I knew it was not like him. For a year 6 lad to be crying in front of his class was a big deal. I excused him and sent him with a friend to the rest room so that he could compose himself in private. On his return I apologised if I had said something that he felt was wrong. He replied by saying that I had been fair and he apologised for his remarks. I was very concerned by this and so I reported it to the class teacher and the Principal expressing that I would be more than happy to come in and meet with the parents to discuss the situation if needed. Luckily, my TA had witnessed the whole incident and reported back that I had been very lenient in my response. It would transpire that this child had just been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and was really struggling to come to terms with it all. The mother actually came in to see me to personally thank me for handling a sensitive situation with care and compassion as it could have had a serious impact on his self-esteem if I had simply reacted rather than using a carefully considered approach. These kids are human, they are dealing with highs and lows, happiness and sadness and challenges just the same as we are. Stop and think before you react, you could make more of a difference than you could ever measure or know.

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” Ernest Hemingway.

Never underestimate the power of a child’s emotions, thoughts and feelings. Children are, in the most part, powerless in their worlds. They are told what to do from all directions. It is our job to listen to them, to really see them, to hear them, to understand them and to advocate for them.

Quick Tips:

  • Always have work up-your-sleeve for any last minute changes-of-plan that weren’t expected. I like to have some core-skills work ready like dictionary work, times-tables work etc. Be ready to improvise and adapt at any moment.
  • Always be ready to abandon an activity and turn to something else if your lesson is not working.
  • I used to play chart music in the classroom. It was on the understanding that it was played if they were working hard and were on task. As the volume of their voices increased, I would make a demonstration of turning the music down, they would lower their voices and so I would turn the music up for them again. Amazingly effective for me and made for a more pleasant and fun learning environment for us all. We also had a tidy up song, the kids knew what they had to do and knew roughly how long how long they had to do it. They would groove around the classroom and tidied. They loved it, as did I.
  • Make your displays interactive. Make them 3D by stapling the work so in billows off the wall. Also, use the learning intentions of the topic and make them in to questions for the children to read, focus on and answer. Create an inspiring environment.
  • In my entire teaching career there has only been one child that I wasn’t too keen on (yes, shock horror it’s true, because I am human.) I made extra sure that I was really kind and extra fair with that child who was very challenging indeed. This is because the fault was with me, not with the child. I’m not proud of how I felt, but I made sure that this particular child had the absolute best of me, because that is my job and my promise.
  • Open your windows! Children cannot learn effectively in over-warm, stuffy classrooms (that often smell of methane!)
  • Have regular brain-breaks, they are kids, not machines. Help them out by moving, playing a quick games, swapping seats, taking a 2 min run around the playground, whatever. Help them to learn. Shake off the body rust!
  • For younger kids, they could take it in turns to take Billy Bear and his Backpack and diary (for them to fill in) home as a positive focus. It’s a chance for them to connect home with school. Sharing time is also great for the kids to feel that their world is important to both you and the class, it also gives you an important glimpse in to where they are coming from.
  • Stickers! Stamps! Stars! Simple and yet very effective techniques to get your kids motivated to learn and instantly celebrate their successes.
  • Write the day’s plans on the board so that the kids know what’s coming and can settle in to the day.
  • Praise! Praise! Praise! Praise is so important, everyone likes to hear that they are doing a good job, including you. Be generous with your praise, it’s so easy and so valuable.
  • Morning Activities were essential in my classroom. A funny little puzzle or challenge was on the board. They would come in and grab their morning books and settle down whilst waiting for the register/roll to be called. This made for a really peaceful, calmed, ordered, happy start to the day. Make it fun! You want your kids to want to come in for the day. J
  • Feelings Chart
  • Celebration Posters & Tray Mail
  • Circle-Time is a must for a happy class.
  • The Worry Box gives the kids a confidential, direct line to you to reveal their concerns.
  • Celebrate and encourage mistakes-they lead to the correct answers.
  • Get to know your kids and care about them.
  • Fake it until you make it!
  • Look beyond the behaviour to the reasons why it is there. That is the only way that you can change it.

I’m sure that you will have many more wonderful, inspirational things to add to this list on how to make your classroom a happy, safe-haven where children can blossom and grow into our future leaders. Please feel free to share your ideas, it’s important to our kids that we support each other and be the best educators that we can be, for all our sakes.

You are so important, because you are helping to shape our future. Be the inspirational teacher that had, or that you wished you’d had.

Go forth and change the world, one child at a time!

With Love,


“I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a person’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a person humanised or de-humanised.” Haim Ginott.

Copyright Cathy Domoney 2016.