There are very few things that I believe in more adamantly than I do as not yelling at your students. This is NEVER a good idea. These are my top 3 reasons why. And they're legitimate ones you should take into consideration, so keep on reading.
1. It doesn't help anyone. Not you. Not your students. Not anyone. Think about how well you react when someone yells at you. Do you really want to do anything to please them? NO. If anything, you want to do the opposite because they just berated and yelled at you. And as a teacher, your heart rate increases, you're incredibly upset, you've lost your cool. Yelling is really one of the worst things you could do to improve student behavior.
2. It doesn't show your students respect. Think about what it's like to receive respect from your principal (or boss). They trust that you're doing an excellent job in the classroom, they treat you with kindness and the kind of respect you deserve. And how do you respond to that? Positively, right? And if you've made a mistake, what is more likely to help you improve? Being brought into your principal's office and being yelled at? Or being brought into your principal's office where they calmly and kindly discuss with you the areas where you could use some improvement? If you don't prefer the latter, well then ... We should be showing our students the same respect that we expect from our principals. They're more likely to respect us in return. And as a result, they're more likely to behave better in our classrooms! Respecting our students is a win-win situation.
3. It doesn't portray you as a role model. As teachers, one of the most important things we can be for our students is a role model. If we stand in front of them yelling at them, showing them that we are completely out of control of our class, then we are not portraying ourselves as role models. We should always show ourselves to be some of the most upstanding citizens, who treat everyone with kindness and respect, and who are always in control of our emotions. If we are out of control and yelling, what are we teaching them? We're teaching our students that yelling is meant to get them what they want. When looking at interpersonal relationships, yelling is the furthest thing from helpful.
As a teacher, I remember yelling ONCE at a student. His name was Anthony, and I felt terrible about it. He had been pushing my buttons all day, and I just couldn't take it anymore. I yelled at him in front of the entire class and immediately regretted it. I'm sure we've all been there.
But what I did after yelling at Anthony was probably the best lesson I could have taught my students that year. I apologized to him in front of the entire class. I said something to the effect of, "Wow. Anthony, I am so sorry for yelling at you just now. I lost my cool and should have never treated you like that. I hope you'll forgive me." And you know what Anthony said? He said, "I forgive you, Miss. Thank you." Talk about a profound experience not just for myself, but for my students as well.
If you tend to yell at your students, I hope you'll reconsider. And know that we've all been there. But with the New Year approaching, now is the time for change! Make it your resolution to not yell at your students for the rest of the semester. And sometimes, if I feel like I'm going to lose it, I'll step out into the hallway and take a moment to breathe, remind myself that this is just a moment, and allow myself some time to calm down.
Wishing you all a wonderful 2016!