Classroom Experiences That Have Shaped Me as a Teacher

When I think about my experiences in the classroom, I am reminded of both positive and negative occurrences that have helped shaped me into the teacher I am.   It is from those negative experiences that I have adapted some of my teaching styles or simply refined how those styles are implemented.   A vast majority of my teaching experiences have been in an Early Childhood setting ranging from teaching children aged two through five years old.   Obviously teaching children this young requires a bit of patience, flexibility and stamina, in fact this is necessary for any age.   I have learned that you can’t go into the classroom and expect to follow the lesson plan completely, because plans change along with the children’s interests and attention spans.   I learned early on in my experience that you really need to have certain tricks up your sleeve, ready to be pulled out at a moment’s notice; this is especially true when the children are getting antsy or rambunctious.  
One of the tools that I have found most effective came from a Behavioral Specialist that was brought in to observe one of those overly rambunctious children.   This particular child was engaging in power struggles and made it very difficult to teach in the classroom.   It was suggested that when we were giving this particular child direction, and she was choosing to not do it, that we offer her a “choice” in the following way:
Teacher: I understand you don’t want to put your __________ away, but it is important that we cleanup for ________________.   So here are your two choices, you can either do it all by yourself, or I can help you.  
In a majority of the situations that I used this technique the child always chose to do it on their own.   Not only did this avoid power struggles with children, it was an effective tool for any child.   This tool was effective also because it allowed the children I implemented this with to gain independence and confidence that they were able to accomplish things on their...