Classroom Management is the most important aspect of teaching and usually is the least discussed with educators. A positive classroom is the key of success. So how do you have these two worlds work together? By having lots of discipline and lots of laughs. A teacher can have all the knowledge and by not handling the individual behavior issues, the lesson is a failure.
I start the year with going over the rules (an earlier blogpost) Brenda and I just recently had one of our podcasts concerning how important “respect” is within the classroom. Once you have established a strong presence in the classroom, here are some tips I use that helps me get the most out of all my students in class.
1. Know Your Standard, Keep it Personal and Individual
Have a standard of what you expect before the lesson begins. The moment ANY student crosses the line, they are the ONE that is disciplined. I never discipline an entire class, only individuals. If you have the entire class stay after, it sets up the one or two students that really got the class in trouble, you will pay for this for many months down the line.
2. See Me After School for ONE Minute
Upon “getting in trouble,” I have the student stay after school for ONE minute. Yes. one minute. I want the behavior to change and it gives me an opportunity to talk to the student privately.
3. Ten minutes, Just Owe Me Before the END of the Quarter
If the behavior has continued and more action needs to be taken, the student owes me ten minutes, but due before the end of the quarter or I put a hold on the report card. Many of my students have after school activities or commitments. Additionally, there are days I cannot stay after as well. Plus, making the student stay after without contacting parents can be problematic. It empowers the student to make a choice of when to make up the time.
4. Tell Me What You Did Wrong, then CHANGE
Many times the students really doesn’t know what they did wrong. I want the words to come from them, not a lecture from me, so I ask directly what they did wrong. Then my next comment is “Can you put this in your brain and change?” Yes, they can! is us usual response.
5. Get Out of Jail FREE!
Ok, so you have a student that has to see you after class, then all of sudden, they help out a student or they offer an amazing idea. I immediately praise the student and the “after school” talking is erased!
6. NO ONE Stays After School for Gum
I do not keep anyone after school for gum. I just ask the student to spit out the gum, if I see the gum again – they owe me time for LYING.
I keep the humor going and use it a lot within the class. Doing the opposite of what the student expects and making jokes helps the overall climate in the classroom.
8. Keep is Private
I pride myself in saying that the music classroom is the most “emotionally” friendly room in the school. If there is a behavior issue I ALWAYS talk individually to the student never embarrassing them in front of the class. The simple whisper in the ear or a quiet talk in the hall goes a very long way.
The common thread is how individual and personal behavior issues are. Some students need that simple “hello” as they enter the class. Knowing what they are interested in and being interested in their lives is their personality and makes them the person they are. Of course, I do let them in on my world of Ohio State Football
making sure the Michigan School song is NEVER sung in my class. That’s one of my standards and yes, you CAN stay after school for that!