I took the Classroom Management course last semester and thought I learned so much that I would have no problem managing a class. Fast forward to this semester where I am in a classroom on a regular basis and classroom management is not as easy as I once anticipated. I think part of this is that in Classroom Management I learned many different ways to manage a classroom. I learned strategies in the high, medium, and low control arenas which I absolutely loved learning because it really felt like applicable information… and it really is. However, I have learned these past couple of weeks that you have to find what works for the individual kids in your classroom.
Children are motivated differently and as a teacher you have to find the one way to motivate most of your children and then find other strategies that may work for the rest of the students. One strategy we talked a lot about in Classroom Management was using some sort of points system where the children earn points either individually or as a class for good behavior and/or good work. I think a base system like this will work in almost any classroom because kids are always motivated by any sort of prize, even if as a teacher, you don’t see the prize as a big deal. For example, if the class gets to 50 points in a month (or whatever the allotted points and time frame is) then they get to eat lunch with the teacher in the classroom or they get to listen to a story by the teacher.
In addition to the points system, I have learned positive reinforcement works wonders. When I have pointed out one student doing something great I almost always have at least a few more students remember what they are supposed to be doing or how they are expected to be acting and change their behavior.
Some children just need a private conversation so they realize that you see them and how they are behaving poorly and you don’t appreciate it. This was difficult at the beginning because I didn’t want the kids to think I was being mean, but I learned quickly that they understand you are the teacher and they don’t take offense very easily.
Overall, I think kids can really benefit from management but as teachers we need to remember that each student is different and needs to be managed differently. However, I have found in my classroom experience that these strategies generally work great!