In the past, I’ve written about the importance of ensuring a happy first day of school experience for your students.
There are many reasons for this, but the biggest is that it gives you leverage.
You see, when students like being in your classroom, your classroom management plan will matter to them.
It will have meaning and relevance. It will have logic and purpose.
It will have the power to dissuade misbehavior before it can gain a toehold.
Everything we do here at SCM, one way or another, supports this approach.
What follows are five strategies that will establish your classroom as a place your students will look forward to.
And prepare you for the best year of teaching you’ve ever had.
As your students enter your classroom for the first time, stop each one at the door and say hello. Smile, look them in the eye, and introduce yourself.
This simple act puts nervous students at ease and sends the message that you care about them. It’s also a quick and easy way to begin building rapport and reciprocal kindness.
After a quick welcome, dive right into a funny or quirky story about yourself. It can be an anecdote about your childhood, your own school experience, or anything else that allows you to show your personality.
Your likability is crucial to effective classroom management, and nothing breaks down walls, creates ready-made leverage, and draws students into your circle of influence faster or more powerfully than telling a story.
Your first routine of the year is the most important routine of the year. You’re setting the bar of expectations exactly where you wish it to be, so you want to make your teaching and modeling of it remarkable.
You want to make it experiential and highly detailed. You want to make it more exacting than any lesson your students have ever taken part in. After all, well-taught routines transfer excellence to everything you do.
After proving to your students that yours is no ordinary classroom, you’re now set to introduce your classroom management plan in a way that will resonate with them, that will cause them to agree with its supreme importance.
To that end, explain that the sole purpose of your rules and consequences is to protect their right to learn and enjoy school. The plan is meant for them, not you. It’s meant to safeguard that special something that they’re now all a part of.
To further establish the tone and tenor of your classroom, jump into a challenging academic lesson on the very first day. Just be sure and teach the heck out of it. Show them what great instruction looks like.
Let them experience legitimate success—perhaps on a scale they never have before—and a deeper appreciation for learning. Send the message that in your classroom fun and hard work are one and the same.
Give Them Something To Talk About
Your students’ first impression of you and your classroom is important, critically so.
It can either set you on a path to a rewarding school year or throw you into a ditch from which you may never recover.
The key is to give your students a reason to get excited about being in your classroom.
It’s to set your expectations precisely where you want them to be so you don’t have to struggle for the rest of the year trying to prod, beg, lecture, bribe, and implore your students to get there.
It’s to give them a sweet and satisfying taste of what’s to come, which, in turn, will give you the leverage and freedom to really love your job.
Note: If any of topics above prompt questions, we’ve got you covered. Each has been written about in detail on this website.
Everything you need to prepare you for the start of school, and more, you can find in our archive (bottom right sidebar).
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