This is an article in the Total Teacher Transformation series. Click here for a complete table of contents.
What a wild week this has been! I’m surprised by how much even going over these classroom management basics on here has impacted my teaching. When I preach this stuff, I sort of have to force myself to follow through. I’ve been discussing this stuff with a couple of friends this week, and just in case one of them walks into my classroom, I want to make sure they see the same stuff!
So if you’ve been following along, you are coming to a realization of just how important classroom management is to your overall effectiveness as a teacher.
I know that the week has been busy. I know that a lot of you even if you are trying to keep up with the series here are under piles of stress. I hope that nothing I am doing is adding to your stress. I have to assume that things are simply going well and I’ve giving you a whole lot to think about this week.
I was emailed by a reader explaining that there is a lot of testing going on across the country right now. I anticipate this series will be much better received (and commented on) when I rehash it all over again in August. But having said that, I want to review the week and include some of the comments that I’ve read as well.
Day 1: Find a Moment
As a preparation for the series, I created a sort of go-to page for pretty much anything classroom management related that I’ve written. This page will constantly be updated and really is the springboard for any teacher who is not as good as they want to be. Some of the comments and emails I have received lately have been from people who told me they had been digging through the site for months, so hopefully this page will be useful!
Day 2: Find a Mirror
On day 2, we began to turn our focus to ourselves and take responsibility for controlling our own classroom. We have been a large part of the problem so far. Now we will become a large part of the solution. Until we accept responsibility for fixing our classroom situation, our students will not thrive. To put it even more bluntly, we owe it to them to fix ourselves! I also encouraged readers to document as many of the misbehaviors they experienced in their class as they could.
Day 3: Find a Mentor
One of the greatest things that I ever did for my teaching was to ask people for help. One of the most difficult things that I ever did for my teaching was to ask people for help. What I found was that most good teachers simply want to help you be a better teacher! They won’t laugh at you or anything, they will go out of their way to help. Too many young teachers simply don’t listen to the help that is offered, so as we get older, we stop freely offering that help for fear that it will continue going unheeded. If you want help, ask!
Day 4: Find a Mother
Parents often help with discipline issues. Not always, as evidenced by the comments that came from this article. But if you don’t even attempt to contact the parents, you won’t know. Reach out and touch someone. It’s May! The worst that can happen is they won’t help. The best is that they will and you’ll begin to experience a more tolerable classroom!
Day 5: Find a Motivator
Positive reinforcement is awesome. In this article, I discussed some contingency planning strategies, both for in the classroom and for in your own personal life. If you don’t have a goal for what you’re trying to accomplish, it becomes difficult to accomplish anything at all!
Day 6: Find a Mentor – Again
After a week of trying things out and learning things, I recommend touching base with your mentor again. Reader comments came in reemphasizing that it is very important for younger teachers to simply ask more experienced teachers for help. If possible, it would be best to be in daily contact with your mentor(s).
There’s a summary of everything that’s happened so far. I’ve gotten some random comments and twitter notes and things from people telling me that they appreciate this series. I plan to run it all over again in August/September when the school year begins again for me. It also might be something of interest to some college education professors…