Classroom Management & Success as a Teacher

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Managing a classroom requires many tasks; however, it's important to remember that classroom management is not about achieving order for order's sake. It's about achieving order so productive learning can occur. The ultimate goal of classroom management is to promote learning.

Who's Responsible?

Effective teachers provide opportunities for students to make decisions and follow through on those decisions. Good classrooms are not teacher-dependent environments but rather independent student learning arenas. Teachers who provide students with multiple opportunities to make choices and accept the consequences of those choices are excellent instructional leaders.

Students who come up to your desk and ask, “Is this what you wanted?” or “What do I do next?” are saying they aren't allowed to make their own decisions. Teachers who empower students in making decisions are facilitating independent and responsible learners.

Expert Opinion

On average, a typical classroom teacher will make more than 1,500 educational decisions every day. These decisions can be minor (when to collect lunch money) or major (what to do when a student has an epileptic seizure).

Establishing Routines

Good classroom teachers teach their students classroom routines such as what to do when they finish an assignment early, how to get extra help, how to move in to and out of the classroom, and how to take care of their personal needs. This provides students with a sense of responsibility and allows them to make decisions that should be theirs rather than the teacher's.

Decibel by Decibel

Effective teachers know that a quiet classroom is not necessary a productive classroom. Learning is sometimes noisy and sometimes messy (just look at any science activity involving a bunch of kids and a tub full of earthworms). They recognize that learning can take place in many different types of environments. The activity level or noise level of a lesson may ebb and flow along with the level of involvement or participation on the part of students. Students need opportunities to share, communicate, and vocalize their educational experiences — all within previously established rules or expectations. Successful classrooms tend to involve significant amounts of class discussion and group exploration. A quiet classroom may be a dead classroom.

Majority Rules

Good teachers establish a set of expectations early in the school year. These expectations are clearly detailed and explained to students and are upheld consistently throughout the entire school year.

Effective teachers provide opportunities for students to take responsibility for establishing rules and the resultant consequences. They know that this ownership factor can be a positive motivator for all students.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Success as a Teacher © 2005 by Anthony D. Fredericks. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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