Tuesday, July 21, 2015

10 Ways to Sabotage Your Classroom Management

Ummmmm ... did this author come into my room my first year and write this post about me, or what? As a new teacher, you're overwhelmed and you're trying to work out all of the kinks.  This post is so incredibly honest and full of so many great things to do.  I loooove that it addresses a problem and gives an alternative.

When anybody asks me for new teacher advice, I always say "do not talk until everyone is listening."  That's exactly what #4 says.  I can't stress this enough.  The second, and I mean second, you allow students to talk while you are talking, you've reinforced that it's okay for them not to listen to you.  And this spills into everything else.  "She didn't make me stop talking, so she's not going to make me [insert whatever your expectation is now]."  These kids are smart.  I can't get over how street smart and intuitive kids are.  They pick up on these things and they sense fear.  Quickly.  They're like lions circling you and you have no out.  Once they smell fear, you're done for.  Take the extra five seconds and wait.  You'll thank yourself later.  Did they start talking again while you were talking?  Stop and start over.  Did you give instructions to come in quietly and they were loud?  Have the whole class head outside again.  Peer pressure works.  Use it for good.  I can't tell you how many times I made my kindergarteners go back outside and line up again because they didn't follow my instructions.  Or go back to their seats when it was time for lunch because the line was noisy.  They learned quick.  And if they didn't, their classmates could usually give them guilt for it.  Seriously, say what you mean and mean what you say.

Ohhhh, don't get me started on #9.  It's sooooooooo easy to get caught in a negative cycle.  You notice Johnny over there talking while you're trying to do a read aloud.  What do you do?  Most will tell Johnny to stop talking.  And sometimes that's necessary.  But, there's a different way to go about it.  Find kids around Johnny and say "I love that Sammie is listening to the story and I can tell that she's focused because she's quiet."  Like I said above - kids are smart and intuitive.  They want crave attention, and they're going to get it one way or another.  Negative attention is still attention.  When they notice they aren't getting attention for breaking the rules but others are getting attention for following them, they start following those rules pretty quickly.  Now, does that work for 100% of kids?  Well, no, but it's a start.  Some kids require more intensive behavior plans.  But 90-95% of kids respond favorably to positive attention.

Which then goes into #6.  Back to Johnny.  You've now just given attention to Sammie and ignored Johnny.  He wants that attention and he's going to get it by now listening.  As soon as you see Johnny listening, you reinforce that by saying, "Thank you so much for listening now, Johnny."  He sees that he gets attention for doing the right thing.  Now, there is a time when you need to just tell someone to cut it out.  But don't tell them what not to do.  Don't say, "Johnny, stop talking."  Instead, tell Johnny what he needs to do.  "Johnny, I need to you be quiet so that you, and others around you, can listen to the story."  Give him redirection in a positive way.  I had an assistant this year that said that my positive behavior management was one of the first things she noticed when she was in my classroom.  She said that she had gotten so used to telling kids what not to do, but was so much happier telling kids what to do and focusing on those doing the right thing.

I hope this article helps.  :)

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