As educators, we have all heard these two words at some point. Some of us have heard them in staff meetings; others may have seen these words in our classroom observation feedback from administrators. Others may have attended professional development or trainings on this topic. However, I assure you that classroom management is very different today than it was fifty years ago. Classroom Management is a winding road with twists and turns. When we are driving and come to a sharp turn we slow down and once the road straightens we accelerate. Classroom Management is no different. Sometimes we must slow down to reflect and then go full force.
Classroom management is no longer about instilling fear in students to make them behave. It is no longer about being in a power battle with students. It isn’t even about threatening to fail students. In fact, some students are not afraid of being threatened with a zero or calling their parents.
So, what is classroom management all about? Classroom management is about building positive relationships with your students and their parents and leveraging those relationships to get students to do what you need them to do in the classroom. It’s a give-and-take relationship. As any effective classroom manager will tell you, “if you respect your students and if they respect you, they will do what you ask in most situations.”
A quick and easy way to improve classroom management is to learn your students’ names. Learn how to spell them and pronounce them. Find positive reasons to call your students’ names throughout the school day. In addition to knowing your students’ names, make it a point to attend some of your students’ extracurricular events and celebrate their successes. In your classes, you will have some students who play sports; others will be artists or play in the marching band; some students will even work part time jobs. Trust me on this. Go to their events. Show your face. Make yourself visible. It will go a long way with students.
A few books that you can pick up to help you in this area is one that was given to me during orientation as a first year teacher. It’s called The First Days of School by Harry Wong. This book is old, but a lot of the information in the book is still very relevant. So, pick up a copy if you get a chance. Some other books that are worth reading is Ron Clark’s The Excellent 11 and The Essential 55. Both books are great resources to help you become a better classroom manager and truly drives home the point of building positive relationships with students which will naturally lend itself to better classroom management.
Four tips for successful classroom management are below:
- Establish routines and procedures in your classroom that include full lessons with little downtime and lots of activity switching.
- Build a positive relationship with your students and their parents.
- Develop a system of rewards and consequences to counteract discipline problems.
- Hold students accountable by giving them ownership and some control over the learning process.
I hope this information will be helpful for educators who are interested in learning more about classroom management.
© 2017 Bryan A. Ruffin