Monday, January 21, 2013

Classroom Management

Reflection is a key component of an effective teacher.  This is a statement that has been bantered around for a while, and in my experience it is every bit the truth.  Moving to Kuwait last year, I had a difficult time always managing my students.  I struggled, but it wasn't a complete disaster.  Still, when I had some time over the summer I thought long and hard about it.  This year I have implemented many systems, but the systems are only as good as the person using them.  I had to enforce them and I had to get the kids behind them.

Hand signals is one of the best systems I have in place.  The older students have some difficulty getting behind this totally (I still have some rebels), but for the most part my students like this system.  In fact, I have had other teachers come to me and ask about it.  The students I teach had ask their other teachers to implement a similar system.  The signals themselves are pretty self explanatory.  The biggest hurdle involves practicing and reminding students about the expectations.  I have far fewer students yelling out in class, or wasting time while I am with another student.  If they need to use the washroom they will simply hold up their hand with two fingers crossed.  When I see their hand, I can give them a head shake for yes and off they go.  It is simple and effective.  You can download the PDF I made here and the header here.  The designs for the hands can be found on this site.

I also use an assertive discipline tactic where I write names on the white board for warnings and other actions. On the right you will see my white board.  Since we are a bilingual school, I have to get my students to use English as much as possible.  I will allow Arabic in certain cases, but usually when they come into my room they speak only in English.  This is easier said than done, but I strive to work on monitoring this everyday.  Under the Warnings header I write names of students who choose not to listen.  This is the key with this system: the students have auditory, proximity, and visual reminders for behaviour expectations.  The first warning is verbal, the second gets their name on the board, third a check and a time out, fourth another check and a lunch detention, and after that they get after school detentions and so on. 

This is a school policy at my school, but the key is following through with each step.  Kids are kids, and if they can convince you not to give them a lunch detention for their poor choices they will.  It is a system that allows some flexibility, though.  Students can earn back checks if their behaviour improves (if they haven't worked themselves to a detention).

Reflecting on the last semester, I can safely say that I feel a lot more comfortable with how my classroom works.  I can still improve, but I feel as though my students and I have a great environment where we can tackle the questions of the day in a safe, structured, and positive manner.

No comments:

Post a Comment