A Bit About My Classroom Management Style
By Patti Mihalides
Keeping September’s energy and enthusiasm high all year long is critical for both teachers and students. In order to achieve this and at the same time, provide a balance of novel, engaging activities that motivate students, highly effective classroom management is essential.
Harry Wong, a former high school teacher and now author, speaker, and presenter on education says, “The single most important factor governing student learning is not discipline; it is how a teacher manages a classroom. Where there is no management, students risk failure because of the lack of structure.” Mr. Wong’s book, The First Days of School has for years been my go-to source when it comes to classroom management. I highly recommend it for teachers of all experience levels.
Wong says that many classrooms are not managed effectively and as a result, little is accomplished. Students want a well-managed classroom more than the teachers do because a well managed room gives students security. There are no unpleasant surprises, no yelling in a classroom where everyone, teacher and students, know what is happening and when. Yes, there will be times where the teacher has to use "that voice", but in my class, behavioural disruptions are minimized because everyone knows and works within the expectations and boundaries.
It comes from installing procedures and routines and being consistent from day one. I believe it is this style of classroom management that enables students to be more successful. It’s almost impossible for them not to be. Good teaching, coupled with high expectations for student conduct equals success. It’s a win-win for everyone.
When a classroom is managed with procedures and routines, students know what to do and when to do it. They even learn how to solve, with confidence, the minor day-to-day bumps in the road they may encounter. These routines and procedures are taught in the first few weeks of the school year and it takes time, a lot of time. But we get it all back before we know it because when you have routines in place and you are consistent about them, you make better use of your time. More meaningful and authentic learning takes place in a warm, respectful and predictable environment because students learn to seamlessly manage themselves.
Our routines begin the moment the bell rings. We start our day with handshakes upon entry to the classroom. Students in my class are expected to arrive on time to school each day, ready to learn. And that's a big one for me. When kids are late for school, especially consistently, it really does a number on their confidence. You know what it's like to show up to a meeting or appointment late. You feel out of the loop and reluctant to ask questions. It's just not the way you want to start your day and it's the same for kids. Please bring your children to school on time.
The boys and girls are expected to show compassion toward one another, participate in class discussions, share opinions, be problem solvers, ask questions, read voraciously, act, be good sports, show creativity, be polite, use common sense, have self-discipline and follow expectations. Harry Wong says “Your expectations of your students will greatly influence their achievement in your class and ultimately, their lives.” This is why I have high, but not unrealistic expectations for my students.
In my class, students will enjoy a warm learning environment, where we treat one another as we’d like to be treated. I am the kind of teacher who works cooperatively with her colleagues, believes we all need mentors and role models, attends professional development activities regularly and has a goal of striving for excellence.
I genuinely love what I do for a living and I do my very best to be the very best.