Developing Classroom Management Plans for Elementary School, Part 2
Simple Steps to Creating an Effective System part 2
In Classroom Management Plans, Part 1, readers met Alexis, a fictional first year teacher who quickly realized that the classroom management plan she devised while in college was perfectly useless in an actual classroom.
If the story were to be continued, one could say that after Alexis followed the steps listed in the previous article, she noticed that there were still several gaps in her newly formed systems. Plus there were times in which Alexis thought she put forth way too much effort, and it would be easier to go back to the old way of doing things.
Alexis, like many real teachers, discovered that there are actual steps to creating an effective classroom management system, but there are also strategies that cannot be overlooked. Those strategies are also an integral part of the classroom management system; strategies that will not only assist in creating an effective classroom management system, but will also enable the teacher to work smarter. The purpose of this article is to help teachers think outside of the box and come up with creative strategies for managing the behavior of their student by defining what classroom strategies are and detailing how they differ from the steps.
5.Maintain either a Positive Outlook
Teachers rarely realize how much their viewpoint on a given issue greatly colors their perspective. Suppose a teacher desperately needs to touch base with the parent of a student who is something of a challenge. However, whenever he calls the home, the parent immediately says, “I’m busy.” Rather than adopting a negative outlook and assuming that the parent has no interest in the child, the teacher can remain positive and seek alternate ways or times to communicate.
One can maintain a positive outlook by refusing to complain. It is very easy for teachers grumble about things that don’t seem to go right in their classrooms. However, complaining doesn’t really solve anything. In fact, it seems to magnify problems and make them appear worse than they are. It may feel good to vent to people about the trials of one’s day, but after a horrible day, a lesson that flopped, or a class period that was especially uncooperative, the best thing to do is bury it and move on.
After a teacher has successfully avoided complaining about unpleasant experiences, she may be met with colleagues who need an outlet for their frustrations. That teacher should avoid negativity because it spreads like highly contagious virus; before long the positive teacher adopts the negative teacher’s outlook and that negativity affects every aspect of the teacher’s demeanor.
Teachers especially need to maintain a positive outlook in all matters dealing with students. Few educators realize that their attitude speaks much louder than what they say. Positive attitudes can be associated with high expectations. Negative attitudes can be associated with low expectations. Students live up or down to expectations.
6.Cultivate a Community Atmosphere
Many people know that teachers do more than instruct students in reading, writing, arithmetic, and a variety of other subjects. Teachers have the opportunity to educate children about becoming productive and responsible members of society. By establishing a community atmosphere within the classroom, teachers can set up a mini-society where everyone has a role.
If every student is an active participate in his or her classroom community, the teacher’s role will actually become easier. Nearly every task that is performed by the teacher - from passing out papers to sharpening pencils to taking attendance to monitoring the noise level of students - can be turned into a classroom job. There are even a number of jobs that can be shared by more than one student.
In short, a teacher would simply need to make a list of non-teaching tasks/jobs that are performed throughout the course of the day. After carefully describing each job in a manner that can be easily understood by students, the teacher should give each job a title and draft a document to share with each of the students. Finally, the teacher would need to draft an application so students who are interested in any positions will be able to apply for those jobs.
There are two methods teachers can use for filling job vacancies:
- Host Class elections – students are able to campaign for the position of their choice. They can hang posters, write campaign speeches, etc. This method is especially effect during election years. Unfortunately, it does have drawbacks: students can only campaign for one position.
- Interview each student individually – this method is a little more time consuming, but it gives the teacher an opportunity to hear from each student why he or she would be the perfect person for a job. This method is beneficial because it could give students the opportunity to apply for more than one position.
Sometimes even the most challenging students will excel when given an important role within the classroom.
7.Have Staying Power
Any time anyone institutes anything new, there is a period of adjustment – this includes new plans and strategies in the classroom. When the new plan has been implemented, there is a chance that things may not go as intended or expected. In fact, teachers should anticipate backlash from students, parents and other teachers, and they should be prepared to fight – though not literally. Teachers should stand firm and refuse to go back to the way things used to be. When students realize that changes are permanent, they will come around – some at faster rates than others. When parents understand that the new plan brings out the best in their children,the parents will give the teacher their full and unwavering support. When other teachers see that the plan actually works, they may actually follow suit.
8.Always Have Back-Up Plan
Teacher rarely consider that having a back-up plan is an important strategy of their classroom management plan, but it is. Having a back-up plan is a way to ensure that the system doesn’t fall apart.
Sometimes there are last minute schedule changes that cannot be avoided. At other times, lessons don’t always go according to plan; during one lesson, some students need re-teaching while other students finish early. Then there are special education staffing, emergency meetings, and unexpected teacher absences.
Each of the above scenarios should have been addressed in Classroom Management Plan, Part 1. Even so, it’s best to be prepared. When preparing lessons, be sure to create worksheets on a number of different levels to ensure that no one is sitting around doing nothing while you are assisting others.
Summing it All Up
Although the information in this article is listed as steps five through eight of creating an effective classroom management system, they really are like the mortar that binds the bricks together. Whereas steps one through four (listed in Classroom Management Plans, Part 1) should be established sequentially in order for the best possible results, steps five through eight are interwoven through out the first four step; sometimes they either overlap or coexist with each other. Any classroom management plan will only survive for a limited time without these integral strategies.
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