Teachers who struggle with classroom management tend to head into the start of every school year with a wait and see approach.
Sure, they may have an idea of how they want to manage their classroom. They may have strategies they’ve leaned on in the past, lessons learned from the year before, and a renewed commitment to being more consistent.
But they trust their instincts above all. They trust their ability to change, adapt, and adjust. They trust that they’ll be able to learn on the fly and jump nimbly through the minefields of another new group of students.
They trust that this time—somehow, someway—they’ll cobble together the right mix of strategies, the right words to say, the right pieces to the puzzle.
And inevitably when things start going south, when they find themselves calling out over the din of their classroom, raising their voice, and arguing with their most challenging students, they’ll seek advice from wherever they can get it.
They’ll query colleagues and spouses. They’ll pose chat-room questions. They’ll plug their most pressing issues into their favorite search engine. They’ll pick and choose, play their hunches, and then give it a go.
But effective classroom management isn’t an experiment.
It isn’t a jumbled, disparate, mix-up of strategies that have no business being in the same classroom together. It isn’t a series of tweaks and adjustments based on gut feelings, best guesses, or divining sticks.
No, effective classroom management is deliberate and predictable—with success determined ahead of time. It’s proactive, preplanned, and unified. It’s knowing what to do and why you do it.
It’s a personality, a presence, and a leadership style that provides behavior-changing leverage and influence. It’s fair and low in stress. It calms, settles, and focuses. It breathes and inspires.
It calls for you to go into each new school year knowing how to create a classroom your students will love being part of, where work habits, politeness, and independence develop naturally, and where students are inspired to want to behave.
Beginning a new school year without a clear-cut vision and understanding of where you want to go and how you’re going to get there is a precarious game of chance. It’s classroom management based on hope and the luck of the draw.
It’s accepting less than what is possible and less than what you’re capable of.
It isn’t uncommon for teachers to spend days, even weeks, preparing units of study, but give short shrift to the one thing that frees you to teach with passion and frees your students to learn without interruption, disruption, and drama.
As you head into the summer, we here at Smart Classroom Management encourage you to spend time perusing our archive and checking out our books. We encourage you to develop a solid base of understanding of what really works and why.
The truth is, effective classroom management is simpler and more accessible than most teachers realize. Regardless of who you are or where you teach, you really can embark on the next new school year knowing exactly how to set up a peaceful, well-behaved classroom.
You really can know how best to respond to virtually any and every classroom management situation that arises. You really can take a new group of students with vastly different personalities and behavior tendencies and transform them into the class you’ve always wanted.
But it starts before the school year begins.
It starts now.
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