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December 23, 2007
³Boss´ ³Chief´ ³Sir´ A manager by any other name still smells like a manager. (Opps! That does not quite sound right!) Managers handle people, events, materials and time. Teachers are managers. This is the teacher¶s first and most challenging role. Classroom management is probably the most common cause for a first year teacher becoming frustrated and turning to a new field of endeavor. It is also accounts for second, third and fourth-year teachers leaving education. Classroom management is perhaps the least significant role of the teacher but it is the role that allows teachers to teach. Being a manager stinks, but it is necessary to survive as a teacher. Routine, routine, routine- this is what makes teachers successful and allow teachers the chance to teach. The quicker the routine is established, the quicker the teacher can do the task they most enjoyteaching. Most teachers have heard the adage: ³Don¶t smile until Thanksgiving!´ That may be a little extreme, but the idea is important. Teachers must begin the year somewhat businesslike. This is the time to establish the needed routines. Every grade level has different routines that will need to be established. There are some common threads: entering the classroom, leaving the classroom, fire drill directions and conduct, when student conversation is allowed, where books are expected to be, when students can leave their seat, and student classroom conduct. Each teacher is different. Each teacher has to establish their own individual routines that they feel comfortable enforcing. Beginning teachers have a tendency to not establish routine. In which case, the students will establish routines. Once a routine is established, it becomes very difficult to change. Experienced teachers have learned this the hard way and will usually establish their classroom routines in the first few weeks. No smiling until the routine is established! How do you establish routines? There are probably as ways as there are teachers. However, there are some common practices. The first few weeks of school are critical. It is during this time that the routines, acceptable or not, are established. A teacher will greet the students at the door on the first day and begin to set the pattern for students entering the classroom. Teachers need to start the day or class in the same manner. For example, a set of directions on the board for students to start a task, a quick quiz, a check that texts are open to a certain page or simply children sitting quietly in their seats. (Quiet is always good to start the day). Routines must start from day one. The teacher must be
The ³old guard´ refers to this as the test. One of the desk jockeys at the district office estimated that they could save money by reducing the copy paper available to each teacher. It is not a mountain. Progress reports and report cards are usually expected on a certain date. Notes or reports or other materials that appear unexpectedly interrupting class activities must be dealt now! The . events. there is a large bulk of materials that will need to be dealt with over the course of the year. it is a forest. These are grouped in order of management difficulty from easiest to most difficult. Vigilant efforts by the teacher in these first few weeks are rewarded by established routines that avoid problems for the rest of the year. How well the teacher deals with these tasks often determines how effective the teacher will be. The key to success with materials is organization. Rarely are courses offered in organizational skills during pre-service preparation. Ass. Attendance is a daily task and the teacher should establish a routine to take attendance and report or record it. Superintendent so-and-so This was distributed to every district employee on a piece of 8½ x 11-copy paper.very watchful in these early weeks for violations of routine. It is usually not a conscious act. This does not even include the worksheets. The teacher gently reminds the student that pencils are sharpened at suchand-such time. teachers are faced with management tasks. Regardless of grade level. Gentle reminders now establish routine and avoid confrontations later. As a teacher. Teachers must be aware and prepared to turn in the required grade reports on those days.´ Some of the materials are expected and the teacher has time to prepare before the anticipated date it will be due. These include but are not limited to the following: Report cards Office Notes Parent Notes Progress Reports Attendance Reports Record Keeping Reports Lesson Plan Forms Lesson Plan Book Attendance Book Seating Charts Substitute Folders Student Folders Student Note Textbook Forms Library Overdue Notices School Newspapers Activity Announcements ³Post This´ Notes PTA Newsletter Fund Raiser Notes Notes about notes Reports about reports An entire forest has been cut to supply the paper used by a single school district. A teacher must be prepared to deal with this ³paper chase. although there might be some teachers that disagree. we ask everyone to conserve on paper. The routine is being tested. Thank You. This not only reminds that student but also reinforces routine to the entire class. tests and reproduced reading materials prepared by the teacher. time and people. A student stands to sharpen a pencil during a class activity. He wrote a short memo. Students are testing the teacher. A Forest There was a very large school district that was experiencing financial problems some years ago. Teachers and all personnel Due to the increased cost of paper. We will examine the four realms of classroom management: materials. The paper used is fantastic.
Tick Tock Management of time is crucial to teacher survival. Bee Invasion Events happen. Time management also involves the use of prep time and before and after school times. The key is to be organized and anticipate interruptions due to notes. Children swatting the air scream and charge the visiting entourage. Get them out quick and take them to the football stadium. of course. It¶s fall and the temperatures have escalated. Anticipation is the key to success in management of events. if a teacher has any. Quick thinking and a sense of humor help. for instance: A knock on the classroom door distracts the flow of a great lesson. Student teaching is a chance for the pre-service teacher to develop timing. The superintendent or principal will be evaluating your teaching on this day or that. He looked at the students and called the teacher into the hall. or after school or before school. Stuff happens. Common sense and quick thinking are definite assets in cases of event management. Prep time.teacher needs to have anticipated how to handle these interruptions. the power failure.´ Having given that tidbit of information. It¶s hot in the room and the windows are open. In most cases. Some events might be anticipated. The danger. The bees invade sending pangs of pan through the ic children just as a group of the principal¶s colleagues stroll into the classroom. This intersects somewhat with the time management section but management is a interwoven activity. ³There¶s a bomb that¶s going to explode in five minutes. Pre-service teachers can attempt to practice timing of lessons but only time in the actual situation will provide the necessary abilities to manage time. (My first year introduced me to the bee invasion!) Every teacher has a book filled with tales of unexpected events. the child that vomits. Too little time and the teacher needs to be ready with the next activity. Awareness of time is needed to accomplish a planned activity. There is much to do in order to accomplish the needed tasks required of the teacher. Take. Worksheets and tests and notes home to parents have to be duplicated and collated. This could be dangerous. are times that teachers use to duplicate materials. Use of student aides can help in some cases. Standing at the door. is forgetting about it. the arrival of a new student. This is a very strong argument for teacher intern time. if you don¶t have meeting. They may never happen but if they do the teacher needs to be prepared. Many teachers find that this time is just not enough. the appearance of a parent: these are events that a teacher needs to anticipate and have some type of plan in mind. Many events are unexpected. an anxious assistant principal stood. he left. the unexpected visitor. Teachers may give homework to their students but this creates greater . the teacher is the one who has to take care of this mundane task. Unexpected fire alarms. reports and material things. A sense of humor is definitely an advantage in dealing with the unexpected. The chorus will be out on a particular day and that¶s half the class. Perhaps put it aside until time presents itself. The fire alarm will signal an evacuation. Not only is the lesson ruined but also it is important to get students out of the building quickly and be accountable for each and everyone. Time and energy and availability of school machines must be taken into consideration. The Fire Alarm sounds. Panic or fear on the teacher¶s part is quickly conveyed to students. Timing of lessons and time awareness comes with experience. Tuesday is a fire drill. Too much time and the plan is without a conclusion. Most events are unanticipated. Irate PTA members are not fun.
a simple look or the ³teacher¶s eye´ will end any unwanted activity.pressure on the teacher to use home time to check that work. Each age level has its own difficulties and needs. Teachers need to know the characteristics of the age level that they deal with on a day in. the PTA carnival. Interruption of a lesson to chastise a student usually is the least productive method. They are neither. fairness and consistence. The teacher is the teacher. Students are people. ³Disciplinary´ confrontations are usually minor if routine has been established and school policy is clearly stated and observed by the teacher. the debate team competition.´ The important aspect to any discipline policy is simplicity. In most cases. Teachers need to balance their time and that requires good time management skills. Losing face is a very poor diplomatic exercise. The ³teacher¶s stare´ is used for a failed glance. Hey Teach Of all the management issues. the school play. Student athletics. Some of the people teachers interact with include: Students Students from other classrooms Principals Superintendents Other Administrators Counselors Nurse Social Worker Special Education Lunchroom Staff Aides Secretaries Janitors Other Teachers Parents Community Teachers are responsible for managing students. The teacher is neither friend nor enemy. Students respect teachers who respect them. The teacher can be friendly but cannot be their pals. Effective and experienced teachers are aware of these foibles of their students. Many schools expect that teachers be involved in non-curricular activities. Occasionally a teacher might refer to the students as animals or the enemy. day out basis. With experience. There is a wide assortment of people that impact on the teacher and their management skills. This is a common mistake of the beginning teacher.´ The most common issue that is managed with students has to do with students adhering to the routine established by the teacher or policy established by the school. The effective manager uses this to build a positive . Beginning teachers are especially vulnerable to such criticisms. people management offers the greatest challenge to the modern day teacher. Confrontation is to be avoided where possible. There is no simple answer. the Christmas pageant. All the management issues mentioned are important but it is this issue that provides the greatest of frustration to most teachers. Some teachers refer to this as ³control. and the list goes on and on. The teacher is not their enemy. Understanding the individual and the age level helps in developing a rapport with a class of students. Good time management requires the use of the word ³No!´ Unfortunately. teachers learn to utilize time in school more effectively but chances are that there will be still things that will need to be completed at home. This is an excellent footing to establish a discipline policy in a classroommutual respect for everyone. There are numerous plans presented for teachers to construct a model for their ³discipline code. Teachers must manage their time effectively in order to have time with their own families and friends. Diplomacy is important in dealing with people. Teachers are in great demand for more than just the classroom. Teachers are too often evaluated on extracurricular involvement.
integrated curriculum. Issues Inclusion. ineffectiveness and failure. Surprise! Surprise! . Teachers need to develop techniques to put aside classroom or school issues. socially maladjustment. suspicion. cool. seek help from another teacher. Education is a boiling pot of change. standards. In Conclusion Classroom management is the least important aspect of teaching but it is the foundation needed to teach. Even experience does not always help. Teachers are expected to deal with students who carry this added weight. Methods courses supposedly incorporate some classroom management skills but rarely enough. This can be a most difficult situation for a teacher to manage. The teacher must be aware that the child is not attacking them personally.learning.the teacher will need to act. Often they are told. fear. Sometimes the teacher notes the problem before it becomes a nightly news item. Intermediate. and talk to the parents. It is a manifestation of an inner conflict. Failure to address classroom management issues leads to frustration. outcomes. The teacher will need to seek support staff assistance if it¶s available. there has been little attempt to address the issue of teacher survival. Today¶s classroom seems to have more students that carry baggage of social. These are not personal attacks. low esteem. and non-threatening action is needed. They are brought in at the implementation phase.are just a few outside factors that affect teacher-student relationships. Anger. Upper Grades and High School Teachers. Notify the principal. alternative scheduling. Managing people is the most difficult task to toss aside as the teacher drives home to the family. Other times the situation explodes unexpectedly.here you go. Teachers specialize into: Preschool. Future postings will need to address the effect of these issues. Pre-service teachers are told to plan a good lesson and everything will be all right. Stress is magnified a hundred fold when difficult issues cannot be set aside. multiculturalism. He will need a cooling off time. These are children who do not know how to express their feelings. Technology. The student needs to be isolated. standardized testing. Primary. family and personal problems than in the years past.working relationship to accomplish the goal. Managing new programs adds an entire new aspect to classroom management. Stress in teachers is common and most of it can be recognized as classroom management related issues.many are good issues but they strongly effect the teacher¶s classroom management plans. Pre-service programs in teacher education programs rarely address these vital issues. In this writer¶s experience at teaching on the college level. Perhaps a fifth management factor that might be added is stress management. These students may lash out unexpectedly at another student or the teacher. The teacher must be able to manage this situation. Teachers are often left out of the decision making and planning stages of new issues or practices in education. Calm. implement it. The teacher¶s reaction is very important.
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