The second part in the series about how I can encourage success and not set students (and myself) up for failure.
It’s been a while since I posted, lots of things happening–fall festival, days home with sick children, not-so-spectacular reports from subs from those days off, Halloween parties…
It’s all shown me how important good classroom management is for helping students help themselves. When schedules are whacky and weeks are short, that’s when the true strength (or weakness) of a teacher’s management plan comes into focus.
It’s the time of year when kids are losing their initial excitement with the new school year and there are lots of other things to attract their rapidly shifting focus: things like long weekends and holiday parties and our school’s annual carnival. It’s also the time of year when it’s not completely unbearable to be outside in central Florida, making the kids anxious to get outside (and I can’t blame them, this is the most beautiful time of the year around here and I’d rather be outside, too!)
It’s also the time of year that involves a lot of lectures at and haranguing of students from frustrated teachers (I know because I’ve been lecturing about behavior all week 😦 ).
And for a lot of the misbehavior in class, I am asking for it. With TPRS, I have been much more animated and silly in class. I have been actively encouraging participation and loud, boisterous activities and expecting the kids to keep their behavior within the limits that I have set for them. The problem comes in when I am not consistent in following my management plan. The students have rules and procedures during stories (thanks to Mr. Peto, whose classroom expectations I have adapted for my own classes).
It’s hard to gauge where to draw the line on silliness. With younger grades, silliness almost always means more interest in the content. If I am excited and having fun, then the kids are, too. The problem that I have been having with some of the older grades is that their reaction to silliness is not so much interest as it is more silliness. There is an element of wanting to comment directly on what’s going on in the story in English immediately. It’s not a problem when it is one or two kids doing things, but when the whole class decides to all try to pass off their hilarious thoughts at the same time, I can’t get any ci in. My input becomes incomprehensible because no one is paying attention any more.
When thinking of setting kids up for failure, not keeping up my end of the classroom bargain is definitely setting them up to have a bad day. They will not receive any ci because I will be spending too much time asking individuals to stay quiet, getting frustrated, and finally lecturing them about why they need to be quiet. This is not an ideal daily plan and it’s definitely what I put into my lesson plans every day. When I keep up with my plan (basically a simple, “Three warnings, then a note home” kind of thing), things go so much smoother. I know that every classroom management text in the world states that this will be true, but it can be so hard, sometimes, to follow through.
I have a management plan and when I stick to it, the kids are engaged. If I don’t, they aren’t. Academically, I know this. Realistically, it’s not something that I think of when kids are acting up in class (or, in other words, being kids). But, if the goal is to keep our students successful in our classes, sticking to the plan is something that HAS to be done.