As educators, we talk about classroom management constantly. We all have been there at some point in our career - the class that wears us to the bone.
Why is it that some years we, and our students, thrive and other years we struggle and stress? It’s easy to blame the class makeup, the students, their parents, the class size, the length of the school day…
Take the time to focus on and work to change the classroom culture instead or “managing” your students. The difference is in our attitudes toward students. When we expect our students to misbehave, they need managing and rules. Creating culture is what we do when we are intentional in how our classroom is run and all we do and say to our students. We respect our students and expect them to rise to the occasion. We have expectations, not rules. Problems arise when we are reacting to problems instead of acting with conviction based on a detailed, mental image of who we want to be and how we expect our classrooms to function.
Decide. How do you want your classroom to function and your students to behave? Be clear and honest with yourself. If you want to be the teacher who allows students to get up during their personal work time to use the restroom by simply signaling you, signing out and taking the pass but it drives you crazy when kids get up without raising their hand – it’s not for you. Find a different method that will work for who you are.
In the following list add/delete items as needed, write expectations and behaviors for each item. Be specific about how you want your classroom to function and how both you and your students will behave for each item.
Beginning of Day
Whole Class Instruction
Independent Work Time
Behaviors for Others (Specialists, Substitute Teachers….)
Greeting of Visitors
Packing up/End of Day
Speech- How do they address you, classmates, visitors, staff members…)
Body Language (response to directions, etc.)
What character traits do you want to encourage for your class and yourself? Does “this class” need something extra than what you want for all students in future years? In addition, decide what behaviors and attitudes are deal breakers (serious disruption). This may seem obvious, but being clear makes a world of difference. Make a bulleted list for both character traits and for deal breakers. Here’s a start. Add to the lists.
Bullying or threats
Get it done. Next week, we'll move to Step 2: Using the power of observation, curiosity and a simple saying to quickly create positive change.
Like this? Here's the rest of the series.
Week 2: Creating a Classroom Culture: Observation, Curiosity and a Simple Saying
Week 3: Creating a Classroom Culture: Creating a Strong Classroom Culture
Week 4: Creating a Classroom Culture: Wrapping It Up