If you aren’t careful, a new student can severely disrupt your classroom and the peace you’ve worked so hard to obtain.
Although often calm and quiet in the beginning, whatever habits and behaviors were permitted at their previous school will eventually bubble to the surface.
So it’s important not to be lulled into thinking that first day or two that all is well.
It’s important not to assume that they’ll figure it out for themselves.
Or by mirroring a fellow student.
While assigning a partner can indeed be helpful, there are some things you must teach them yourself.
There are some things you mustn’t leave to chance.
The good news is that it doesn’t take much.
Typically, a ten minute conference with the new student is all that is needed to ensure a peaceful transition.
Set the tone.
It’s good to smile and be pleasant during your meeting, but you also want to convey the weighty responsibility of being part of your classroom.
The existent peace and commitment to learning is sacred and should undergird your words and tone.
Set the expectation.
Very simply and directly state that in your classroom students behave, and that will be expected of them as well.
Then pause and let your words sink in. Allow the silence to enhance their gravity rather than be diluted with further explanation.
Tell them how.
Merely setting your core expectation isn’t enough. You must tell the student what they need to do—or not do—to fulfill that expectation.
Using your class rules as a guide, explain what each rule means and how it’s to be followed.
Tell them what.
Next, you’re going to lay out your consequences.
Include what they are, how they work, and the steps a misbehaving student would take from warning to parent contact.
Make a promise.
Explain that the class rules and consequences are meant to protect their right to learn and enjoy school and that it’s your job to make sure that that happens.
You’ll then make the same promise you make to all of your students that you will follow your classroom management plan to a tee.
Share your packet.
Pull out a copy of the parent information packet you sent home at the beginning of the school year.
Together with the student, read through the aforementioned classroom management plan, homework policy, daily schedule, and other important information.
After allowing for questions, ask the student sign the document and explain that they must take it home for their parent(s) to sign as well.
It’s important, however, to speak to their parents to introduce yourself, describe your meeting with their child, and ask them to review and sign the packet.
This is a critical step in earning their trust and support of you and your program.
Modeling isn’t part of the above steps because new students learn quickly—instantaneously—by observing their classmates.
Of course, your classroom must be peaceful to begin with. You must have well-oiled procedures and routines for them to assimilate into.
If your classroom management is solid, and you’re steadfast in your consistency, even the most difficult new students fall in line without you having to say another word.
They see their classmates entering the room quietly. They see them raising their hand and participating. They see them engaged, smiling, and enjoying school.
They experience the intrinsic allure of a happy and productive classroom.
And they want to be part of it too.
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