I have been thinking a lot about classroom management lately. I have not been thinking about the discipline models, but the teacher’s management of their teaching space. When I say classroom management, I am talking about everything that a teacher does from the moment a student walks in the door to when that student leaves to make the classroom run smoothly. Classrooms where the educator is a master of management strategies are the classrooms where good things happen.
As an administrator, we want our teachers to understand the importance of structures, routines, patterns, and low-level discipline strategies in the classroom. The teacher who manages the behaviors of students within the confines of the classroom makes our life easier. There will be less referrals to the office. There are less disruptions in the classroom. The teacher has positive healthy relationships with students. We want the teacher to feel empowered to manage students within the class knowing that we will support that teacher.
In contrast, we will be challenged by teachers who do not have good classroom management skills. They struggle with maintaining positive, working relationships with students especially in difficult situations. Their classes may struggle with completing work in a timely manner. They may be challenged by maintaining good order in the classroom. The management strategy of behavior may turn to sending students to the administration rather than addressing behavior in the classroom.
Once a teacher becomes accustomed to leaning on administration to address behavior, the students recognize this as an opportunity to get out of class. Relationships may be damaged. Behavior may escalate. Students may not respect the administration and then, the administrator must decide how to respond to the teacher to address the management issues. In a positive setting, we would identify this early and address it with mentoring, instruction, observation, and guidance. We want our teachers to succeed and be strong academic teachers and have positive relationships with students in regular daily interactions. Good classroom management strategies are necessary for teachers to be successful in their room.
We will need to address behaviors of students. That is part of the job. We will be required to deal with extreme behaviors by students and address those when they happen. However, on a daily basis, we want our teachers to address as much in the class as possible and support them when needed. It makes our job easier. In the coming weeks, I will add my thoughts on how teacher can become good managers by identifying key areas of their classroom management plans and strategies. I will also identify areas that administrators can support their teachers to become better managers of student behavior.
In future writings on this topic, I will draw from the works of Dr. Kendall Zoller, Michael Grinder, and others as a point of reference. There is a wealth of great resources available for administrators and teachers regarding classroom management. I look forward to sharing some of it with you.