Sunday, January 29, 2012

Oy Vey... Classroom Management!

This past week, my third in the student teaching experience, was pivotal in becoming a teacher who disciplines in my class of third graders. Every single day was a struggle for behavior. By Tuesday I was fed up with how I was handling the outbreaks, unfocused back table, poor line/hallway behavior and complaints of "he said/she did." So after school on Tuesday, Mrs. Martinez and I had a conversation where I invited her to help me.

I explained first that I was frustrated at how every single transition I would get a flood of students that crowded the back table if I was sitting there. I loved to be helpful to the kids that needed help, but I was turning people away, and found that with some students, they didn't need help, they just wanted my attention. It was also frustrating because they would come to the back table and not focus on instruction or directions, or be called back to their seats. Often times, I would tell them to wait for directions, listen in their seats first, or only come back if they had something they needed help on. 

I offered up a couple suggestions, but ultimately she recommended that I sit at her desk and she sit at the table and I could circulate to help students. I felt a little odd packing up an moving to her desk but it certainly solved the problem. It ended up being a really good solution for our specific group of students.

The other problem I was having was hallway behavior when I took them to and from specials and lunch. I would be repeating myself constantly about staying in a line, in order, and not speaking to each other. It would take us a very long time to get from one place to another and I was not effectively disciplining to promote my expectations for their behavior. So Mrs. Martinez suggested that I have a conversation with them the next morning about my expectations and how I was disappointed. She said that it would mean much more if it was a conversation that would come from me. We also discussed effective ways that I could use classroom management with the class. As I began to implement her plan and hold firm to it, behavior began to change. 

In the last week it became clear to me how very important having a constant awareness of how you are managing your classroom. Along with instruction and other factors of teaching, I must maintain management for the class. I continue to grow in teaching the reading material and keeping students engaged. I had a great experience this past week teaching math, getting the students out of their seats and working with partners. 

In the week ahead, I hope to take on the challenge of planning the RtI time. The focus will be  on teaching the students how to discover the main idea in a story. With my new commitment to management I believe that the students will have more focus while I'm instructing. I hope to have more of a comfort with discipline when necessary and be fair at all times. As always, I'm looking forward to another week!


  1. Hi Sasha,
    I am so glad Ms. Martinez is helping you with classroom management. That is the most difficult teaching tool to master and every class tests you in different ways. I am glad the suggestions she made worked. Teachers know their students. Good luck with the RtI lessons. Once again, I enjoyed my observation last week and look forward to our next one.

  2. Sasha,

    I’m glad you used your frustrations to have a conversation with your teacher. This practice shows great maturity on your part. I’m glad she had an easy solution which you implemented.

    Mrs. Martinez offered you great advice when she suggested you talk with your class about your expectations for hallway behavior. Students need to know when we are disappointed in them. I’m glad that you accepted her guidance and found that when you held firm to it, behaviors changed.

    I’m wondering if this new awareness of how you are managing your class is different than what you expected. How did you reach this conclusion?

    Your description of math shows you are using best practices in your teaching. Why did it work well? How did you know?

    You have a strong goal for the week ahead.

    Prof. Meyer

  3. Sasha,

    I was also having trouble with students during transitions from one activity to another. This week rather then having everyone move at once I would go by group lines, gender, or even the color they were wearing to help control the smaller amount of students that were moving around. I am not sure exactly how your class is set to split up group, but maybe it would help if you asked, “if there is anyone at table one that needs help you can come back now.” And if there are only a few you can call another group. On the other hand, if the entire table decides to get up, you at least have a smaller amount of students at once to check on what they need help with.