Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Warm Demander

A Warm Demander

This past Tuesday I hosted another science instructional coach seminar. I was extremely nervous as I embarked on an approach that we have never done before - actually, this is the first year, in a loooong time, that the instructional coaches are receiving professional development concerning instructional leadership. With that said, I decided that I was going to facilitate dialogue over three articles I assigned as homework a week prior to the meeting. All three articles were short - each three-pages in length and targeted at pedagogical practices in the classroom. The facilitated dialogue is actually an activity I had to do in one of my graduate classes; and I thought I would try to incorporate what I learned and experienced in my instructional leadership program with my colleagues.

 As each coach arrived, one-by-by, they thanked me for sharing the articles with them - one in particular, called The Teacher as a Warm Demander (the reference is listed at the bottom of this post if you are interested). I was pleasantly surprised and let out a sigh of relief as it made my job as facilitator a lot easier. As I mentioned earlier, I had not done something like this before with them - and they can be a tough group. :)

The main idea behind the article is: how can teachers create an engaging classroom and convince students that they care, while at the same time never letting up (Bondy and Ross, 2008). A warm demander is defined as someone who "communicates both warmth and a nonnegotiable demand for student effort and mutual respect" (Bondy and Ross, p.2, 2008). The authors contend that teachers should believe in a individual's capacity to succeed regardless of what students might say or do by exhibiting three actions: (1) building relationships deliberately, (2) learning more about students cultures, and (3) communicating an expectation of success (Rogers, 1957 as cited in Bondy and Ross, 2008). I specifically selected the article based on (1) my personal experience and teaching philosophy; and (2) comments made by educators I've worked with recently and in the past.

Several people would probably describe me as a warm demander. In fact, a week ago, I ran into a former student at my old campus. Actually, this gentleman officially was never in my class, I just tutored him during our Saturday TAKS camps (TAKS was the old state exam in Texas). He told me something that made my day and I just had to post it on my Facebook page: 

Ran into a former student today. He told me that I always had high expectations and could tell I believe in my students. He also mentioned that I would always say, "You could do better, you could do better" to push students. He is aspiring to become a teacher and wanted to thank me. Made my day! :)

When I read the article, I was immediately reminded of his comment and comments made by former students. I am a warm demander Students know I believe in them and that they can be successful. I knew many of my students came from low-income backgrounds or from other external factors that I had no control over; however, from the start of my career, I realized that I do have control over what occurred in my classroom. By providing learning supports, supporting positive behavior, and being clear and consistent with my expectations (Bondy and Ross, 2008), I was able to establish an environment and culture where my students recognized that they were important enough to be pushed beyond their normal expectations.

Bondy, E. & Ross, D. D. (2008). The teacher as a warm demander. Educational 
      Leadership: The positive classroom, 66(1), pp.54-58 


  1. I love this! Thank you for giving me the proper words to describe my teaching style. I, too, am a warm demander. Your post was very insightful. Thank you so much for sharing!