In The First Days of School, Harry Wong noted that “effective teachers manage their classrooms,” whereas “ineffective teachers discipline”. Accordingly, I believe that effective classroom management involves the careful organization of students, space, time, and materials in a conscientious effort to prevent disciplinary issues. As a firm, yet friendly teacher, I endeavour to proactively manage the classroom by setting clear student expectations, planning learning tasks that involve a high level of student involvement, while further planning ahead for transitions in an effort to waste little time and avoid confusion. A preventative approach that focuses on respect, commitment, and responsibility will better prepare the students for success in the classroom. In all these areas, I believe consistency is key!
Through observation, I have learned the value in setting aside time with students to generate a clear set of expectations for a positive and respectful learning environment. I believe that when classroom procedures and routines are firmly established, disciplinary issues can be prevented. However, in the case a student’s behaviour is creating a disruption, I address the behaviour immediately, and when necessary, briefly explain why the behaviour was inappropriate, connecting it with classroom expectations. I believe students should be held accountable for their actions, and therefore, will implement a discipline plan that communicates clear consequences and teaches students the concept of responsibility, while remaining respectful of their individual emotional needs and social backgrounds.
Not only do teachers need to plan how they will address negative behaviours, they must also plan how they will encourage desired behaviours in the classroom. I believe the attitude of the teacher is critical in determining the mood in the classroom, and recognize the importance of modeling what is expected by consistently offering students respect and demonstrating responsibility, flexibility, and commitment. Knowing the value of a fresh start each day, I welcome my students into the classroom with a smile, greeting each by name. Praise, when used purposefully and appropriately, is an effective tool for classroom management, and should be modeled to encourage the practice of praise among students. I plan to celebrate the positive behaviours and achievement of my students through the use of “happy notes” and class rewards, in an effort to motivate and create a safe and open learning environment for all.