The Balance

Aubrey JonesBlog, Engage Better

In this Post:

  • Creating balance between structure and student freedom.
  • Reflection from stepping back to facilitate and guide.
  • The beauty of freeing yourself from constant classroom regulation!

Back to School Reflection

As I go back to school, I have been enjoying my reflection on the drastically different teaching experiences I am encountering. I have been thinking about what I am learning as well as the factors I can control, the factors I want to control, and the ones that are life lessons.

The two biggest things that stand out in my thought process are classroom rules and classroom environment.


First of all, I am going to preface this statement by saying: I love my para. She is great. However, she loves structure. I am not as regimented. Therefore, I am not going to regulate how many bathroom passes are used per quarter, phone use, etc. As a result of this type of constant regulation, I will go absolutely crazy and be a miserable person.

The successes are great, but even more amazing is the process. Click To Tweet

My Message/Lesson

This summer taught me an important lesson: the environment dictates behavior. This summer, I taught an English class that I ran more like a college environment. We read and wrote every day. There was a routine. Before I get the teaching police stuck on me, I promise that there was some structure. On the other hand, I was not regulating bathroom use or cell phone use.

My kids were teaching me an important lessonĀ  – when the kids had choice, they had a louder voice. They guided their learning, and neither bathroom nor phones were an issue. I was so happy not having to regulate, but rather discuss with my kids. I was a facilitator, I was learning, and everyone was happy. There was not an intense pressure to be someone I wasn’t. I loved that my kids learned some valuable lessons without me explicitly teaching them.

[scroll down to keep reading]

Always Learning

I am continuing to realize that by not being controlling or regulatory, my kids felt free to be themselves. They felt free to fail, and they felt free to try. This to me is huge.

The successes are great, but even more amazing is the process.


Aubrey is a special education teacher. She looks to eradicate labels in the classroom and in the community. She is on the forefront of a movement entitled #nomorelabels and is working to promote a classroom community of success with structure and support. When she does not have her teacher hat on, she creates comics and loves escaping to the beach. Fueled by caffeine she hopes to push kids beyond their comfort zone to try and experience new and exciting things.