How To Teach Classroom Management On The First Day Of School
Because it sets the boundaries within which inspired teaching can take place.
It establishes an impenetrable wall, safeguarding your students from distraction, interruption, bullying, disrespect, and the like.
To be most effective, you mustn’t ease your way into it. You mustn’t tiptoe your way around it or add it as an unpleasant aside.
No, you must set your feet, narrow your eyes, and teach classroom management in a way your students won’t soon forget.
Make a commitment.
Before your students arrive, make an ironclad commitment to yourself to abide by the guidelines set forth in your classroom management plan. This will give your instruction a level of conviction your students need to see in order to trust you and buy into your plan.
The earlier in the day you can begin your classroom management lesson the more it will communicate its importance. This doesn’t mean, however, that you must start immediately. Within the first hour is a good rule of thumb.
Make a promise, part 1.
To begin your lesson, make a promise to your students that you will uphold your classroom management plan every minute of every day, no exceptions. Go on record. Lay your reputation on the line. Express your commitment to them and to protecting their education.
Make a promise, part 2.
Now promise your students that you will always treat them with respect. Promise that you will never yell, scold, or humiliate them in any way. This public declaration will instantly put them in your corner, eager to support your plan.
Communicate its purpose.
Many teachers present rules and consequences as if they were bad news. The truth, however, is the exact opposite. Your classroom management plan is the very thing that ensures your students’ freedom to learn and enjoy school without interference. It must be presented as such.
Teach with gusto.
If you don’t feel a surge of energy as you begin your lesson, then you’re not ready to teach classroom management. Managing behavior effectively means everything to your success. Thus, you must convey its sacred importance with passion.
Refer to a visual.
Your rules and consequences should be posted prominently, not hidden behind a door or banished to a far corner. Write them poster-size in your own script and place them high upon the front wall of your classroom.
Give an impassioned review.
To introduce your classroom management plan, provide an impassioned, full-picture review of your rules and consequences. Although you’ll do no modeling at this point, your words must be delivered with boldness, conviction, and zeal.
Show the progression.
Provide an example of a misbehaving student progressing from an initial warning to the return of a signed letter. In other words, let your students eyewitness exactly, and in a highly detailed way, what will happen if they break your class rules.
Model in their shoes.
The lesson is most effective if you pretend to be the misbehaving student. Sit at one of their desks and call out without raising your hand, side-talk with a classmate, or engage in any other common misbehavior. You can even have a student play the part of the teacher.
Leave no stone unturned.
The idea behind teaching classroom management so thoroughly right out of the gate is to remove any and all excuses for poor behavior before they gain a toehold and become part of the culture of your classroom.
When you finish your lesson be sure and give your students a chance to ask questions. No part of your plan should be secret. No part should be unclear, nuanced, or difficult to defend. Openness and transparency are strengths your students will respect and find comfort in.
Most students are used to a haphazard form of classroom management. They’re used to uncertainty and ambiguity. They’re used to inconsistency and shifting definitions of what is and isn’t acceptable behavior.
They’re used to teachers who say one thing and do another, and accountability based on moods, whims, and angry confrontations.
Your job on the first day of school is to set the record straight.
It’s to show your students precisely where your boundary lines are, what they look like, and what will happen if they cross them. No surprises. No misunderstandings. No broken promises.
Just comfort in knowing that they’re free to learn and love school.
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