I entered the field of education thinking I would change the world for the better. I planned to ignite my students' love for learning. Even the reluctant students would want to know more as they worked in cooperative groups, did research, and developed their project presentations. Oh, and the parents, they would only send me emails of praise! Then the first week of school happened. I wondered where I had gone wrong. I had purchased all sorts of supplies, materials for labs, I decorated my classroom. I spent much more than someone who had not received her first paycheck should have spent. By the end of week one, there wasn't a marker top to be found, my students had used the markers to write on the legs of wooden tables I had asked the principal to buy for my classroom, and the room reeked of the gallon of vinegar that had been spilled on the floor. I needed a do-over, fast!
Now, 22 years in the field of education, sixteen of them as a high school teacher, I have learned and share with teachers, the pitfall that is so obvious yet so overlooked. Teachers MUST establish rules, procedures, and a discipline plan for their classroom. Schools rules are insufficient for the productive operation of a classroom. In a previous post, Ending the Chaos in Middle and High School Science, I wrote about the need for classroom rules and procedures. This post is a continuation of that post with some ideas for teachers to put in place on Day 1. Teachers tend to be from the middle class, thus we approach all students as middle class. Many students, however, are from poverty, and the rules and the approaches must differ.
Along with your high hopes and expectations, be realistic about your clientele. You, the teacher, are an adult, you see the bigger picture. Your students do not necessarily see into their future. They may not realize the benefits of their education. Think, now, about how you will engage ALL learners, including the reluctant learners, who may inadvertently attempt to disrupt your plans.
All of the above are suggestions to help you have a smooth Day 1, which will hopefully lead to better Days 1 through 180. In addition to the text on this page, the links will give you more specific ways to develop a firm classroom discipline system. Be sure to enforce the rules fairly. The rules are for all students, without exception. One thing, not listed above is the importance of showing your students that you care about them as individuals. A discipline system is necessary, but when students know that you care, that they more than their grade, their human elements kick in and they begin to care about how they treat you and how they behave in your classroom. Do some ice breakers at the start of the year, ensure that everyone treats everyone else in the room with the highest level of respect, call students up for individual conferences - get to know them and develop a relationship with them. This will yield great benefits for 180 days and beyond.
Yours in Education,
Kimberly G. Massey
Copyright 2019 Kimberly G. Massey
Kimberly G. Massey
Science Instructional Specialist, Rock Hill Schools of York County
The views/opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Rock Hill Schools of York County SC.
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