Creating a Classroom Culture: Wrapping It Up
Micro-management will kill any culture faster than you can blink.
This is it! You've planned, trained your students and now it's time to trust them. No micro-managing allowed. Once you have done your job and trained you students, they should be ready to take it on. Will there be problems? Yes! Expect it. Accept it. Be prepared to re-train or use your phrase and curiosity, as needed. If you expect there to be problems, then the problems won't upset you. You'll be able to be calm and work your plan.
As you train your class, gradually release responsibility to them in each area. Before you know it, your class will be self-monitoring and running smoothly. The only way to do this is to dive in. Stay on top of your game and stay involved.
Build trust every day by being trustworthy. Staying involved tells students you care and are invested in them personally. Monitor learning constantly. Be available, ask questions, listen to your students' thinking, discuss and move their learning forward daily. If you are sick or stressed, tell your students you just are having a rough day. They will understand. One day of not being actively involved without explanation might be excusable, but more than that will cause students to mistrust you.
If things seem to be getting off track. Stop! re-evaluate. Spend a day checking your Daily Function sheets and taking notes. What is off track? Identify the problem. Is it the students, the teacher or both? Why? Then, make a plan to fix it right away. You'll be back on track in 24 hours or less. If you don't let things get out of hand, teaching every day will be a joy.
Remind yourselves who you aspire to be. Recite the classroom mission statement together every day. Review personal goals (1st grade and up) at least once a week, if not more often.
Be consistent with your expectations and consequences.
Gradually release responsibility for new routines and expectations.
Train students for a week in each routine or expectation by modeling and practicing.
The next 3 weeks, practice and model on Mondays. Expect students to use the proper protocols the rest of the week.
Be curious and try quick questions when there is a small problem. (Did you mean to do that? What is our routine? Show me. Watch while the student demonstrates. Thank you.)
Re-train when several problems arise or consistent problems seem to be occurring.
Key to Long-term Success: Model and practice routines the first day back after any extended break.
When a new student arrives in your room, take the time to model and re-train the whole class for 3-5 days.
In case you missed them, here are the links to the rest of the series.
Week 1: Creating a Classroom Culture: Classroom Management vs. Creating a Culture
Week 2: Creating a Classroom Culture: Observation, Curiosity and a Simple Saying
Week 3: Creating a Classroom Culture: Creating a Strong Classroom Culture