“The ultimate goal of classroom management should not be on simple obedience, but on having students behave appropriately because they know it’s the right thing to do and because they can understand how their actions affect other people” - C.J. Hardin

Classroom Management.jpg
One of the most important skills that a teacher can have is a vision for how to create an effective, efficient environment where all children feel welcome and safe. A large part of promoting a safe environment is having effective classroom management skills as the authority figure in the classroom. One of the most important components of being an effective teacher is to provide an atmosphere that is consistent for the children in the classroom. No matter how much children claim they dislike discipline, children feel safer in a classroom where they know what is expected of them. Children feel that they can function effectively in a classroom if they are familiar with the routines and if those routines are consistent. For example, my students know that when they walk into my classroom every morning that they will drop their language arts homework off in "Tray 2" which is right next to the classroom door. They know that each day they walk in, I or my cooperating teacher will have instructions for them on the board so that they know what their morning work is. Students know that it is a part of their routine that they will write down their homework in their planners. They are comfortable in these routines because they know that either I or my cooperating teacher will have those homework assignments ready for them to write down when they walk in. Students know the routines for getting in line in a number order. They also know that I will give them a signal when their group is allowed to pack up at the end of the day.

My beliefs on how I want to conduct my classroom is a medium-control model, inspired by philosophers that I read about. To view my classroom management beliefs, look at the Multilateral Model. I believe that children need an authority figure in the classroom and I do believe that I am there to be a model and to maintain control of students' learning environment. They need me to be their teacher, not their friend, and I need to be there to enforce rules when necessary. However, I also want students to have independence to enforce rules themselves, to foster their own independence, and to trust me and feel supported by me. I do not want students to live in fear of rules or fear of me; I want them to know that I am there for them and that we can relate to each other in a familiar, positive, problem-solving way. I believe that my beliefs align most closely with the medium-control approach.

Part of the way that the classroom that I am a part of functions so efficiently is its set-up. As soon as students walk in, their homework tray is to their left. This helps establish a system where they know that the first thing that they do is turn in their homework. Their cubbies are also to the right when they walk in, so they have easy access to put away their belongings and keep their things in a safe place. My cooperating teacher's desk is arranged in a way that she can easily see every child in the classroom, and my desk is angled so that I can see all children too, but from a different angle so that I can see certain things that she may not be able to witness. I think that in arranging my own classroom setup, I will be sure to arrange my desk in a way that no child is out of sight. I also believe in group arrangements, but they have to be carefully selected. I have had the experience of brainstorming with my cooperating teacher ways to arrange the desk groups to avoid conflict with specific students. One important component of classroom management is possessing "with-it-ness," or awareness of students' dispositions, personalities, and how they get along with one another. There have been two times where I have given my cooperating teacher advice on which students need to be separated and which students would work effectively together.Paige Best Teachers Ever.jpg

Students also feel safe in a classroom where there are reasonable rules that they both respect and understand. I think that the first days of school are the most important in establishing rules that students will accept and follow. I believe that if students are a part of the rule-making process that they will respect rules even more because they felt that they were part of the community that created them and they understand why these rules are in place. During my student teaching, I made sure to maintain all rules, procedures, and routines with which students were familiar and used to. Part of the reason why I was an effective class manager was that I was consistent about enforcing the rules and enforced the same rules with everyone. Equality is essential with classroom management. Each student should be rewarded equally for equally positive actions and receive equal consequences for equally negative actions. I believe that the fact that I treat each child equally fosters an environment of trust and positive rapport with the students.

I believe that another reason that I have effective classroom management is because the students know that the rules that I enforce are there for a reason. The students know that I respect them as individuals and care for their well being. They know that I am reasonable with them and am fair with my rules. For example, because students were having an extremely difficult time not talking at all every time we were in the hallway, I instated a new rule. Before we leave the classroom, if I am holding one finger up, that means that we must have silence in the hallway. If I am holding the number two up, that means that students can whisper a "rulers-length" distance. This way students do not feel repressed all of the time and it is a better behavior management system for me in that students know when I truly need them to be silent and they obey.

Part of effective classroom management is recognizing and respecting diversity. While I hold everyone in the class accountable for our common core "rules," I treat everyone equally because I know that everyone is able to meet the requirements for these rules. However, as I to know my students, if I see a student with a behavior management issue, I need to get to know the specific needs of that student and will need to individualize instruction. Certain students thrive with a behavior management plan. One student in my classroom is ADHD and has impulse control issues, so making him an "office runner" helped him focus better because he needed to have breaks where he was out of his seat and able to move around the classroom. Certain students may need individualized behavior management plans, which I have designed in my Classroom Behavior Management and Organization classroom, as well as during student teaching for my Collaboration with Families class.

I believe that general rules, procedures, and routines are essential; however, specific classroom procedures can be used in lesson plans for the content which you are teaching. For example, during my student teaching, I conducted a Mystery Unit where I was using small groups consistently. To provide maximum efficiency, clarity, and time management, I implemented a Classroom Procedure for mystery small groups.

Time management is key to classroom management. Each day, students will know that they are required to be in school at the same time every day, switch classes at a specific time, and leave at a specific time. Part of time management is sticking to timed routines, as they promote the smoothest transitions. In order to maintain a time-effective schedule, I brainstorm an estimate for how long each part of a lesson will take.

Overall, classroom management has been the most effective because of the positive relationship and rapport that I have built with the students. Students want to respect and please me, and I want them to succeed and praise them with positive reinforcement for what they do well. Because there is a mutual trust and positive intent, I believe that our community is well managed on its own.