“We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.” ―
Classroom management is one of the most important factors that go into being a successful teacher and having a successful classroom. Effective classroom management does not happen overnight, but with practice and patience.
Effective classroom management starts with building a relationship with your class
Know your students and connect with them on levels outside of the classroom. When students feel like you care about them as a person and not just about their academic success you will be amazed at the difference it makes in their behavior and overall classroom report. My students always knew I cared about them and in return they would move mountains for me. Even when things seemed hard for them, that relationship we had built was a strong foundation to support them to go outside of their comfort zone, try new things, and amaze themselves with just how much they could accomplish and excel. Don’t be afraid to get on their level, have fun, be silly, laugh, and joke. Your students will be grateful for you, even though they might make you feel completely stupid in the momentJ
Classroom management is a learned skill
When I say learned skill, I mean that your students will actually learn the set of skills with your guidance. This starts on day one. When you establish your classroom on day 1, your students will begin to pick up on what your expectations are for them. Do not lower your expectations! Students are wired to push you to the edge. You will show them how much you care by not budging. Students need structure and thrive in that type of environment. Once you establish your skills from the beginning, stick with them. These skills will not be mastered in one day but overtime. Take Ron Clark’s Essential 55 for example. These are 55 rules that his classroom follows that are established to bring out the best in students. These are not learned and mastered in one day but overtime. For Example: Rule 19: When homework is assigned, do not moan or complain. How would this help in your classroom? It established a common norm that your students know and are expected to abide by; in return helps eliminate any behavior issues in regards to homework. When you are consistent and have routine to your classroom, both you and your students with be thanking each other.
Expectations are important
Students love to take ownership in things. They take pride in it. Let you students help come up with some rules/expectations that they want to have in their classroom. Consequences usually are established by the administration or by district guidelines; however you do have freedom to add consequences of your own as well. For example: Student does not turn in their homework, consequence could be staying after school to complete homework with parent consent. I wish I could go back and change up how I did my rules and consequences. In the beginning I was a very by the book teacher, very old school in regards to the rules and consequences. My students did not respond well to that. It came across as if I did not care and to them they were just rules I set in place for them to break. This is when establishing a community and report comes back into play. Establish a community where the rules and expectations are collective bodies of moving parts that help the classroom become a success. Almost like running a business. Not rising up an army for battle: Sit up, legs in front, no talking, no laughing, no smiling type of classroom.
Procedures are kind of like routines that your students know like the back of their hand. Establishing procedures in the beginning will help tremendously in the long run. Your classroom will end up running itself with successful procedures and make the teaching and learning part much easier for both you and your students. Consistency is key! Stay with them even though it can be exhausting in the beginning. You have to go over it with each class multiple times a class period, multiple times a week, for months! Eventually the students will become a well oiled machine and teaching will become a whole lot easier. There is nothing more frustrating than chaos when teaching. Don’t get me wrong, there will be days that your students test you, even when you think theres no way they could possible fall short of the procedures and expectations, but again, stick with it and don’t hesitate to go back to the basics and start again with how your procedures work.
“Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.” – Zig Ziglar
Classroom management is a continuous learning subject for all teachers. You never quit learning how to have better classroom management. Each year you will get better and better, however there is always improvements that can be made. Each year brings on a new set of students, new challenges, be consistent. If you feel like you are off to a bad start and are falling short in classroom management, be encouraged. Your abilities will grow!
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