Thursday, January 28, 2010

Classroom Management

OK, this will not be very well thought out, but some thoughts on being a "guest" teacher and classroom management.

First of all, in my regular classroom, I am a very relationship-based teacher. I like to get along with kids, and I want my classroom to be a different sort of place. Power struggles just don't do it for me. To start the year I will stick pretty sharply to classroom rules and the like but as the year progresses, each student becomes an individual.

As a sub, though, you don't have a relationship or prior knowledge of the kids. They might have pre-conceived notions about you, and might be oh-so-ready to play games with an "evil" adult. And you, as this stranger, are a great target.

I have been reading "Love and Logic" and find that a lot of what it contains describes the way I like to teach. But as a sub, it's difficult to follow any classroom management techniques that build trust over time because you only have an hour with the kids. To combat this, I try and present myself as a friendly, easy-going person. I start off with a quick introduction of myself, the assignment for the day, and something positive like "so let's relax and get this Math work done so there is one less weekend assignment!" If it is possible within the lesson plan I do not yell out roll call, I circulate the desks and ask each kid their name. If I can, I add one personal interaction to each one "oh, that's unique," "did I meet you in your science class last week?" or "what is your project topic?" I try and give solid reasons for any restrictions I put on them such as "I'm only letting one student out to the bathroom at a time because I don't know everyone well enough yet to keep track of any more than that. As soon as the pass comes back you are free to go." And I smile, smile, smile!!!

I have found over time that trying to pull power plays on unfamiliar turf will just bite you in the butt.

What types of classroom management techniques do you use? What personality do you try and project?

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