Teacher tolerance is a must if you want to run an effective learning environment without becoming overly exhausted. You cannot respond to every pin drop and maintain a higher enough level of energy to effectively manage a classroom. There must be teacher tolerance. You must pick your battles and leave the others to chance. Eventually, minor disturbances will play out on their own.
As a teacher in a classroom where disturbances can happen at any moment, you must decide what behaviors to respond to and which to let slide by. One way of implementing this is to ask the question: Can I still teach?
When to Tolerate
If you are in a situation where you are teaching, and a student begins to express a low degree of negativity, such as whispering, looking into space, or playing with a pencil, you can consider this as an opportunity for teacher tolerance. You can teach.
First, the disturbance is not strong enough to interfere with making an effective presentation of concepts and ideas. Other students are not distracted by what the off-task student is doing. Instead, they are interestingly engaged in the lesson you are delivering.
Leave well enough along. Attempting to get the student back on task while you are reading, or teaching other students a vitally important subject will interfere with the flow of the lesson, plus drain you of much needed energy for teaching the rest of the day.
When not to Tolerate
However, teacher tolerance has its place. You must not allow students to interrupt the lesson plan or interfere with the learning of others. If a student is touching others, talking loudly, or doing anything that is taking away the attention of others, you must not tolerate such behavior. Such students need some form of discipline.
For example, if you are getting the class ready to review for an important exam design to measure student progress in a particually subject area. This could be math, English, reading, social studies or science.
If a student starts complaining about the exam and making deliberate noises which disturbs the focus of other students, you must confront the student and warn him that his behavior will not be tolerated and that the next step will be a visit to the behavior room or the principal’s office.
Tolerating such behavior, even for a minute, is detrimental to your entire classroom. Misbehavior spreads when it is not strongly confronted. Teachers whose classrooms are highly disruptive haven’t established an identity as a confident authority in the classroom. Something is holding them back, either low self-confidence or intimidation.
The Bottom line
Therefore, teaching tolerance can be negative or positive, depending on the situation which the teaching is faced with.
Teacher tolerance can be very valuable when done the right way. You can educate students with minimum disruption, but teacher tolerance can be very harmful to you and your students if you stand back when your decisiveness is mandatory for the peaceful resolution of a classroom problem.