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Classroom Management

The Heart of Classroom Management

Every child has the right to learn.  In order for this right to be made completely available to each child, a system of classroom management must be put in place.  Consisting more than just rules, classroom management requires more than a long list of “don’ts.”  In fact, for the most part, I believe classroom management should be based on “I will.”

Rules are easily broken.  Boundaries are tested and threatened.  However, procedures are a way of life. Tell Tommy, “Don’t do this and don’t do that,” and soon Tommy is doing both.  However, tell Tommy “Do this, and do that,” and he is less likely to fall into the trap of the “don’t”-seekers. I believe the number one deterrent to misbehavior is a standard, practiced way of doing the everyday.   A classroom’s movement should resemble that of a well-rehearsed marching band, not that of a hungry zoo animal vying for attention.  The tricky part is getting everyone in step.  How can twenty five-year-olds quietly put down their glue sticks and silently line up at the door without the teacher begging, bribing and booming around like a circus trainer?  Simple: practice it.  Rehearse it again and again.   Lead all twenty kindergarteners through the lining up procedure again and again until it clicks.

At the heart of classroom management is practiced procedures.   The problem seems to be no one wants to practice anymore.  It’s just like childhood piano lessons; everyone wants to be Mozart, but no one wants to memorize their scales.  Proficiency will only come with practice.  Practice will only come with sacrifice.  Early in the year, a teacher must decide that having her students rehearse the set procedures is worth the time and effort.  All in all, a moment of time spent early in the fall will keep a teacher from hours of frustration in the spring.