This week’s topic for #SundayFunday is all about classroom management. While I do not view myself as a master of this YET, I do feel like I have certain strengths. The following are the things that lead me to be successful in the classroom:
- Students need to see you care about them. I do not mean you should be telling them this verbally everyday but instead showing you value them. I try and find various ways to keep them engaged and practicing the material. They notice that I have put in effort to create a review activity or that I took time to give them feedback on something they wrote me. I believe students also see that I am fair. It does not matter if it is the student who is always making bad decisions or someone who has never gotten in trouble before but I am consistent in rules.
- When a student does something that I do not want to see in my classroom, I try and pull them aside to talk about rather than engaging in an argument in front of the whole class. I can always give a look or a quick verbal cue and then have the students start working on something so I have a chance to have a discussion about what just happened. It does not hurt to stand outside the classroom as students enter and talk to a kid this way as well.
- I like having both routines and chaos in my room; sometimes happening simultaneously. When students enter everyday, they know to go to the front of the room and grab whatever is out for an opener and begin work. They also know to have their homework out so I can check it and they can discuss. While this is happening, some students might be up at the board putting up homework questions they were stuck on while others are up answering them. At first glance it might seem a little bit crazy but students do a great job with this once I explain my expectations. This type of controlled chaos is what I enjoy having. I can hear conversations and discover misconceptions while looking on as others are trying their hand at a few practice problems. It seems to work for me and helps me decide right from the start of class where I need to proceed and anything I still need to wrap up from last class.
- One of the biggest things I have learned, especially being an early career teacher, is that having something for the students to engage with generally keeps issues down to a minimum. If they are actively working and participating on a task or a good problem, it is much more difficult for students to act out. It seems like when students finish something early or they already know how to complete a task, is when I tend to have most of my issues. I have learned to always have something extra to differentiate when needed and has helped out several times.
- My last, and probably most effective quality, is enthusiasm. When I get up in front of the room, I flip a switch and am really excited about whatever it is we are learning. I tend to flail around the room (as one student described it once) and constantly checking for understanding throughout the room while my students are working. Students can see I love this stuff and I believe it makes them want to like it a little bit more than they originally did. I get excited about students sharing methods. I get excited when they get something wrong that everyone can benefit from. I am just always excited to be in the room (even if I have to fake it a little on a particularly rough day). I may throw in an anecdote or a terrible joke for good measure too to get a laugh or raise the interest level.
I think that many of points go back to relationships. I believe this trumps everything else. Without that, I would have no buy-in and I feel like I would have a rough time managing any classroom. I am constantly working on making every student feel comfortable with me and with everyone else in the room. These are the things that have been vital to my success and I will continue working on them.