Little Miss Bossy arrives at her pre-kindergarten classroom each morning beaming with joy and ready to take charge. From the moment she enters the classroom until the time she leaves in the afternoon, she demands and commands everyone’s attention. She is bossy, controlling and often manipulative. I have always struggled with this personality type. Avoidance is my strategy, though this isn’t an option with the students in the classroom.
As early education teachers, the relationship we establish with each child will determine the child’s ability to feel safe and accepted in our classroom. All learning occurs through relationships, so it is through relationships we are able to teach. How am I able to build a relationship with Little Miss Bossy? For one, I have learned to appreciate that she is generally a joyful child. She loves to make people laugh. She is creative, smart and always eager to learn. When she isn’t trying to control the world, she is genuinely a pleasure to be around. I am guiding her bossy and controlling tendencies toward being helpful in the classroom and by giving her opportunities to utilize her leadership skills in a constructive way. I don’t want to diminish her. Instead, I want to celebrate her. By doing this, I will receive much more cooperation from her, and we both won’t have to spend the entire year being miserable.
I suppose my aversion to bossy and controlling people started with my mother. She has those traits. But, that’s a story for another time.