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New Teachers Online: How-To Articles: Implement Standards, Curriculum, and Assessment

Classroom Management, A to Z
Gairre Henry and Sharon Pettey-Taylor

As educators, we share a common charge to prepare the next generation to meet the challenges of our complex global society. Keeping this goal in mind, classroom management becomes an essential element in the teaching and learning process.

We are well aware that only a handful of disruptive students can at times compromise opportunities to learn in our classrooms. Some of our most highly-qualified colleagues (newly-appointed and veterans) are leaving the teaching profession for this very reason. Therefore, tremendous support is needed in this area.

So, what can we do? Here are just a few, abbreviated hints to initiate self-reflective thoughts and action in facilitating your teaching practice:

A   Apply accountability standards for students, teachers, administrators, support staff, and parents.
Be consistent and firm in making decisions.
C Create an attractive, organized, and orderly environment conducive to uninterrupted teaching and learning.
D Design innovative lesson plans that engage and challenge students
E Evidence your experience, professionalism, and credentials.
F Foster the needs of students at-risk with built-in incentives and genuine praise for positive behaviors.
G Greet parents with honesty, compassion, and a concerted plan of action.
H Hold regular conferences with students, parents, colleagues and administration; update each with progress reports.
I Identify students who compromise the learning experience (Individual Educational Plans should be used to drive managements techniques for special needs students).
J Justify your recommendations orally and in writing, particularly when addressing disciplinary actions and consequences.
K Keep daily anecdotal records of case study students.
L Lift your call to excellence in a climate that nurtures kindness, fairness and a respect for diversity.
M Maintain a sense of humor and optimistic attitude, highlighting student strengths while working on their challenges.
N Nonverbal communication – use it as an effective and powerful tool in redirecting negative student behaviors.
O Obtain current resources on enhancing management skills.
P Pursue professional development opportunities.
Q Quest to develop a learning laboratory, where students take ownership in maintaining and monitoring their own behavior.
R Revisit challenges yet to be resolved; never give up on your goals and objectives.
S Share effective classroom management and problem-solving strategies with colleagues.
T Take responsibility for ensuring safety in your classroom.
U Unite with union leadership and community-based advocacy organizations for school betterment.
V Vigorously implement student character-building initiatives into the curriculum.
W Work with or write to professional organizations and legislators that address class size and inequities of resources.
X X-mark techniques and strategies that do not fit into your teaching style.
Y Yearn for successful outcomes. 
Z Zone out negative thinking and replace it with a clear determination to tap into the highest level of service to your students.

Until alternative settings are universally established for exhibiting behavioral problems that do not respond to “even the most skilled efforts of behavior specialists” (see, “Discipline: A Call to Order”, American Teacher, October 2007), we must work together to make the most productive and time effective use of our instructional time, as noted by the Professional Teaching Standard – Effective Environment.

As you thoughtfully prepare to facilitate a well-managed classroom, remember to take a breath, relax, and rejuvenate. It is imperative that we take time for ourselves, remembering that tomorrow truly offers us another opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our students.

Do you have a comment, question, or suggestion about this article? E-mail Sharon.


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