Classroom Management Plan
I come from a family of educators. What I see as what is essential to the making of a good teacher came from a source that was close to home, as you might imagine. My identity as a child of two educators as parents had a great influence on my ideals of what a teacher should be, and what place school has to have in their lives in order for children to experience success in education. My mother was able to find her niche in the classroom by being intensely focused on the science of reading. This was her area of expertise and as I learned from the assigned reading in Marlowe and Canestrari, “A command of subject matter, such that students picked up on the teacher’s excitement about it was fundamental…where there was ease on the part of the teacher “moving around the subject,” a dexterity of explanation and explication, students could feel the teacher’s command of the material” (pgs 37-38).
I believe that my niche will come in the form of my ability to help my students in Special Education to identify what is special and unique about them as individuals. I believe this is explained effectively in Marlowe & Canestri when it says “ …caring deeply about each student and about that student’s accomplishment and growth. It begins with the teacher’s recognizing the student as an individual who brings a particular experience, interests, enthusiasms, and fears to the classroom”(pg. 38).
There is a level of frustration that is common with the students that I work with in resource. They often feel stupid, or inadequate. I have a student in my classroom today that has resigned himself to signing up in the Army because his father has convinced him that he won’t get a job otherwise. This child is in the 3rd grade. His sense of self worth is shot at the age of 9.
My primary job as a teacher is to meet each child where they are, coax them along, and show them where they contribute outside of reading (or other areas they might struggle with in academia). What they bring to the class might not be in academia, but in the form of other gifts, such as empathy and compassion for other children, skills and a competitive nature that can be expressed in athletics, or the beauty they might be able to express through music and art. It is a teacher’s job to illuminate the gifts each child brings to the classroom and dim the fear, frustration and sadness that can often stem from the struggles many children face due to a learning disability, or less than stellar home environment.
How will I teach children? I will remind myself everyday that there is a need for flexibility, trust, and compassion. I will have to meet each day with an open mind, because lessons aren’t always black and white. I will have to search for methods to help me bring out individual gifts and worth in these little people that are just trying to make their way through an already difficult position (coping with a learning disability). I will be sure to help my students realize there is more than one way to do things.
My ideals that have shaped my thinking came directly from exposure to great educators. People I have had the opportunity to work for, people like my mother, and teachers that have broadened my understanding and horizons in their classrooms have all played a part in inspiring me to be the teacher that can help all children reach their highest potential.
The conduct necessary for a productive classroom is that which makes the end goal of every student being successful in school attainable. This is their job. Putting their best effort into their schoolwork, and school in general, is key to achieving success in school. It seems to be a reasonable expectation for them to start following rules at a young age, as they will be expected to respect rules all through their lives.
There is a need to explain the purpose of rules in the classroom. As we learned in Long and Williams, “Some of your goals, of course, are academically oriented, whereas others focus on social skills students need for getting along with others. Whatever the case, rules should be tied to the important lessons you want students to learn rather than being mere instruments of control” (pg 66). I have reviewed the rules in the book The Essential 55 by author/educator Ron Clark and will use his list as a starting point for rules in my own classroom. There will need to be adjustments, additions, and removal of rules that just don’t apply to my particular class. I will share and establish these classroom rules at the very beginning of the school year. I want the children in my classroom to help make the rules so that they might have the opportunity to establish what they feel is important to help make their learning environment run smoothly. The consequences that come from following or breaking the rules should be explained when discussing the rules at the beginning of the year. “Positive consequences include extrinsic rewards (such as complimentary notes home and free time) and intrinsic benefits (such as getting more work done and developing new skills). Negative consequences might include giving up some earned free time to complete and assignment” (Long, James, Williams, Robert pg.66). I believe that study hall (time working in the classroom after school or during recess to make up for time squandered during instruction) is appropriate. Also in instances where a child is physically acting out on another student, immediate consequences of meeting the principal, and/or the child calling their parents to let them know of an indiscretion/rule they have broken.
A consistent routine for the classroom should be established at the beginning of the school year. In the morning the routine will be to hang their backpacks/coats on hooks outside of the classroom, turn in lunch tickets, turn in homework, then sit at their desk and start their “Daily Language Review.” When role has been taken, we can start our day. I will have the day’s activities listed on the board so the students will know what is expected and at what time each lesson will take place. A favorite professor of mine did an activity every week and I would like to implement it into my own classroom, and that was called “excitement.” At the start of class on Monday he would ask if anyone had any excitement to share from the past week. This is in a sense a show and tell activity that could include anything from, I scored a goal in soccer, to… I have a baby brother! Raising a quiet hand, being careful to avoid blurting out, and waiting for our turn to share would be essential to having a fair and interactive discussion. I like the idea of sticks with children’s names on them to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to share.
The dismissal routine that I would follow would be to check the board for homework assignments, check our homework folders, pack our backpacks, tidy our workspace, push in our chairs and line up to walk to the parent pick-up or bus line.
Of course it is easy to project what might be the best way to establish a smoothly running classroom. What isn’t always easy to project is the way a certain class might respond to your methods. I feel having some flexibility to make adjustments as needed is essential to having a successful classroom experience.
There are many avenues that must be taken in order to build a classroom that is both an effective and equitable community. Of course there are adjustments that need to be made along the way, and no one method will fit all students year after year, but consistency and flexibility, and openness towards “changing it up” when something isn’t working can help make your classroom successful. I believe that there are many areas that give opportunity for all students to feel safe, important, successful, and like they are an integral part of what makes their classroom whole.
I think you can get students engaged at any level if you allow them to be involved in their own learning. You can ensure that you are running an equitable classroom if you make sure to consider the strengths, talents and needs of each individual and put them in a position that makes the best use of their skills. Consistent assessments gauging where the kids are during any given lesson will help you to group them according to their abilities thereby making class groups more equitable. For some children this might include knowing what their strengths are and allowing them being to lead an activity, for others it might be being able to understand that the teacher isn’t always the central source of information. They should experience the idea that they can learn from each other, know when they need to support, and work together and also that it is ok to come to the teacher when they need to. I think all of these methods of classroom instruction help strengthen the sense of community within the classroom. If a child doesn’t feel comfortable making a presentation or standing up in front of the classroom, then there has to be a different way to allow them to share their talents without alienating them from learning. I can think of nothing worse than forcing a child who is shy to do something they are afraid of. At the same time I want to be able to set the bar high and have them contribute to the class and realize at times they might just be a little bit out of their comfort level, but assure them that they are in a safe place and no one is there to ridicule. In order to achieve this, I would need to find a way to eventually meet them halfway and coax them into trying even if it isn’t their favorite activity!
My classroom management plan so far has dealt with rules and consequences whether it is for good behavior, or not so good. It has been based on letting children know from the beginning of school what my expectations are, and that my main goal is to ensure the success of all of my students no matter what level they are presently at in their learning. This management plan includes letting my students determine what rules they feel are important to help make the class run smoothly. This ideal can also be applied to helping to make a community atmosphere in the classroom as well.
It really comes down to getting to know your kids, what inspires them, what their interests are and how to get their input on what they think is important. Having their voice heard and respected has to count for something and make them feel valued and important, and allows them to build a community feel in their classroom. Letting students evaluate the lessons and let me know what worked for them and what didn’t can be a good tool for building that sense of community as well. Checking in with the students so that everyone can make adjustments to help make the classroom more cohesive is consistent to my classroom management plan as well. Assessing where we are as a group and making sure that it is a place that will lead to student success is the ideal that makes community in my classroom attainable. All of these methods and ideals are pieces of a puzzle that can be used to build a feeling of equity and community in the classroom. I hope to apply them effectively to my own classroom one day!