I guess after 7 years of school, my 12 year olds had their fair share of strict teachers, so walking in my room was a breath of fresh air. I liked to treat my 6th graders with respect, dignity, and lots of love. They responded well to this, and for the most part rose to the occasion.
But in the third grade, MEAN Mrs. Howard it is. By mean, read strict. By mean, read unyielding. By mean, read stubborn with expectations.
There are a few reasons why I have to refer to myself as Mean Mrs. Howard at certain points in the day. I compare myself with Viola Swamp.
1. Third graders don't have a 'chill switch' (6th graders understand "chill")
2. Third graders don't understand the difference between 'work together' and 'copy'
3. Third graders argue with each other even when asked to stop
4. Third graders don't have political correctness yet. They comment about teacher's fake hair, fatness, pimples, butt cracks, etc
5. Third graders forget what you've asked them to do, about 5 seconds after you ask
6. Third graders need reminding of all procedures, even though it's the 3rd month of school
7. Third graders go home and tell their parents everything, even if it's not true
8. Third graders throw fits
9. Third graders cry...a lot
10. Third graders have more drama then 6th graders
So for all these reasons, there is little flexibility allowed in my room. There is more sitting and working quietly, there is more re-doing when papers are labeled wrong. There is less group work, there are less games. Some day they are going to be awesome 6th graders.