It's unfortunate that behavior management was barely even a peripheral subject in my credential program, but I'm getting better with my behavior management skills. I'll talk about that another time though. That isn't quite the focus of this particular blog post. Although I'm improving with respect to my behavior management skills, I want the improvement to occur at a faster pace and greater magnitude. Why? Well, I'm working at a tutoring center right now. Working at this tutoring center serves as a microcosm for me. It is a microcosm compared to when I will take on a full fledged classroom. If I can't last in my microcosm, then I definitely won't last in a full classroom of 20 or so students.
When I studied Philosophy at UC Berkeley, I did something that very few of my peers had considered. I went to the graduate student lounge, I asked multiple graduate students whether they would consider tutoring me in order for me to improve my ability to write philosophical papers. In return, I paid them an hourly rate. That was the best academic move I ever made. Why? Well, it was good in two ways: #1 The philosophy grad students graded our papers. The philosophy professors did not. Who better to tutor you in writing your papers than the philosophy graduate students? Of course, I met with a philosophy graduate student who was not a graduate student instructor (i.e. teaching assistant) for one of my philosophy courses. #2 At least in my case, either most or all of the philosophy grad students were more experienced and astute in terms of thinking and talking about philosophical issues. So, there was literally no one who was more relevant in helping me improve my ability to help me think about and write philosophical papers.
Now, let's go back to my idea to make drastic improvements in behavior management. I've been reading books in behavior management, but as I said, I'm not making improvements as fast as I'd like. So, I'm going to make that same proposal that I made for philosophy, but for graduate students in education. I've already done it actually. A couple days ago, I sent an email to Loretta Sevaaetasi:
My name is Autif Kamal. Currently, I teach writing to a class of thirteen 3rd and 4th graders on Powell & Broadway in San Francisco. I'm in my last term of CalState Teach. I'm contacting you to make an offer. If you see no problems with my offer, I would greatly appreciate you fulfilling my request of forwarding my offer to graduate students in Education at SFSU.
Currently, I'm dissatisfied with my ability to manage the behavior of a classroom. I'm reading books on behavior management in my free time, but I want more immediate results. The best way that I can conceive of achieving such results is to have someone significantly more experienced than myself observe my attempt to manage the behavior of my students, share their observations with me, and propose solutions. So, my offer is to pay a graduate student from SFSU in the Education department an hourly rate to do those kinds of things for me.
If my offer doesn't sound objectionable, I would greatly appreciate you forwarding it to graduate students in SFSU's Education department. If my offer does sound objectionable, please tell me what is objectionable so that I can modify my offer accordingly.
Feel free to let me know whether you have any concerns with my offer. Thank you for considering my offer and request."
I will also send my offer and request to the graduate operations director at UC Berkeley. If I don't hear a response from either of them by next week, I will probably go to both campuses in person. If there are graduate students on site, I will make my offer in person. I'll let you know how that works out.