To start off, I know that a lot of us are relatively new teachers. I know I do well with planning and designing lessons, but struggle a lot of classroom management. This is where my assistant principal wants me to focus on growing next year. He gave me a bunch of books to read so I will be reviewing and reflecting on them here.
My first read of the summer for Management Monday was "Setting Limits in the Classroom: A Complete Guide to Effective Classroom Management " .
I randomly chose this one to start with, and I'm glad I did. The first part of the book helps you diagnose the "dance" style you do with students that isn't working. Usually you are either "permissive" or "punitive". Sometimes you are a combination. Reading the chapters I definitely fall into the permissive category. Teachers in this area often ignore smaller issues (hoping they will go away), try reasoning with students (instead of giving direct guidance), are very verbal with little action, and end up wasting a lot of class time. Punitive managers personalize attacks and over-react.
I think the biggest thing I learned from this book is that my attempts to help students think about their situations by getting into lots of dialogues, lectures, and appealing to reason actually prevents them from learning to make choices. Instead, I need to react to the first misbehavior, give a set of limited choices, and then follow through with consequences. Instead of saying "Johnny, I don't appreciate it when you waste my tape." I should say "Johnny, you can either put the tape down and use it properly, or you will not be able to use it the rest of the week" or "Ladies, you can either sit quietly and work together or you can work quietly sitting apart, which would you like?"
I also like the two-tiered "time out" (of course I wouldn't call it that in high school). Especially since I use a lot of groups, this would help. "Bob you can either work in your group or you can move to the back and work by yourself", if he doesn't behave there "you can either work by yourself here, or you can go to Ms.C's classroom to do your work". Then follow through with the action step on the next occurrence.
The other thing this book made me realize is that I give a lot of empty threats, multiple chances, etc...and that the kids know this. While I think this is me being gracious and kind, they are interpreting that my words don't mean anything -they are paying attention to what I actually DO. I am not sending clear signals to what is important to me and that they need to obey. Instead I should give them limited choices about their options, let them choose, and then follow through. These simple steps will help prevent a lot of the major issues by helping my students see I mean what I say.
Overall I really enjoyed the book and thought it served as a great eye-opener to what is actually going on in my classroom and the simple things I can do to help create a more positive atmosphere.
What tips do you have for conquering your permissive or punitive tendencies?