You have been back in school for a few weeks now. The holidays are over and your beloved time off has come and gone (it happens so fast, doesn’t it? Keep counting the days until Spring Break!). We are sure that you are back in the groove, creating tests, planning lessons and wondering again how you can tweak your classroom management strategies for your class.
We know your goal is a well-organized classroom filled with motivated students who thrive under your intentional and strategic guidance. We also know that leading a classroom is not easy. How can it be when you have classrooms that are made up of so many unique individuals, with different backgrounds, different home environments and different goals and dreams for their own lives? I am a bit overwhelmed and tired just thinking about all the dynamics that are at play in any given classroom.
Does flickering the lights, standing in silence while staring down the most raucous of kids, holding up 2 fingers or shouting louder than they are currently shouting work for you as you manage your classroom? Probably not. Here are a few more constructive tips that might help …
4) Be Positive. We feel compelled to add a line of “we know. We get it. Its hard some days” because you have a really hard (yet rewarding) job. We encourage you to stay positive. We have often heard that our thoughts will dictate our future. Be positive. Expect the best from ALL of your students. Have clear and positive vision of what your classroom is going to be like and consistently share that vision with your students.
Push positive attitudes, positive words and positive outcomes every day and every chance you get. Help your students “see” positive behavior and positive outcomes for all areas of their lives and they will want to follow you more and more. Even the hardest of students want to believe that they have a positive future in front of them. When students feel encouraged, they will then want to follow you, hear from you and learn from you. Earn their attention by being a positive talker everyday.
5) Set An Example. We know that you are an example everyday. Continue to be an example that is clear, consistent and positive. On the hardest of days don’t let them see you give in to frustration and break your own rules. As you know, they are always watching you and your behavior tells them what is and is not acceptable despite the rules that get discussed. Leading by example is always more effective than any words, especially when you have a full and busy classroom.
6) Ask for Input. Have you ever been through team training with your school staff? Or, been on a committee when a leader suggested that everyone contribute to the committee goals so that they have ownership in the outcomes? A classroom has similar dynamics to any team or committee
Ask your students for input on how you all can manage the classroom together. Consider the age of your students as you create an appropriate conversation to get them involved in their own behavior. Lead them in a discussion about what type of classroom they would like to be in everyday. Ask them for examples of what makes them feel good, motivated and appreciated. Ask them for examples of what happens in the classroom that makes it difficult for them.
Obviously, you need to use wisdom as you lead this discussion and determine what is appropriate for you and them. But, this type of discussion can help your students consider their own behavior and begin to take ownership in the classroom environment.
If you want to go deeper in pursuing classroom management and how to restore relationships with challenging students, we recommend that you learn about our program, Discipline that Restores (http://www.disciplinethatrestores.org).
And, as always, please share with us your insights and strategies …