Class room management holds extreme importance in the process of teaching. It is mandatory for a teacher to manage her class effectively in order to achieve her predetermined instructional goals. 'Successful classroom management involves much more than rules and discipline. Indeed research into classroom management demonstrates that effective teachers are proactive about student behavior, and they involve students in the process of establishing and maintaining rules and routines'. (Strong, 2007)
An effective instructional is dependent on various factors, and a properly managed classroom is definitely one of those factors. There is no way that a teacher can achieve her desire objective, if the process of teaching is taking place in a poorly managed classroom. A properly managed classroom along with attractive materials can definitely attract the attention of students and involve them in the process of learning. Management of classroom is also important to avoid any unnecessary wastage of time, distraction and disturbance, and a teacher can focus only on instruction. In addition to it, a proper management of instruction time, a managed classroom and knowledge of behavioral l problems and the ways that these behaviors can be controlled can also help a teacher proactively avoid and minimize behavioral problems and make a pleasant learning environment.
Keys to managing instructional time
Management of instructional time is a challenge for teacher. It is a step-by-step process. According to the author, the key to managing instructional time starts from the time a teacher begins to plan for the curriculum for the upcoming year. The allocation of time is also dependent on the duration of the instruction time i.e. block, the age of the students and the subject being taught.
During planning for the lessons, a teacher can take reference from past experience in order to allot the correct amount of time for instructions. In case of new instructions, or something that has never been taught before, a teacher should grant some additional time in order to ensure the completion of the instruction without any shortage of time. A teacher should also reserve certain amount of time for discussions and brain storming that occurs during a new lesson.
A teacher can utilize the instructional time effectively during class by taking small steps. For example, prior to starting an activity, a teacher can arrange containers where the materials for the activity can be located. A teacher can assign responsible students with duties to distribute and recover materials used in the activity. Proving a list of the group member in an activity to the students is a great way to save time and avoid confusion whenever an activity takes place in a classroom.
In order to start a new lesson, a teacher can give homework to student to do a little research on a topics that students have a little idea what the lesson is about. This methodology certainly saves time. While planning for instructional time, always pilot test the instructional strategy that is being used. If an existing instructional strategy is consuming more time, if is always wise to have an alternative strategy to manage time more effectively.
Administrative tasks, transitions, and interruptions
I teach first grade. Establishing routines and procedures is extremely important to help children this age feel secure and successful. I spend much of the first few weeks teaching these things and more importantly, modeling them. I always greet every child at the door on their way in every morning, giving them a smile, hug, or a high five to start the day. My students quickly know how to enter the classroom, unpack and put their things away in the designated places (for example, important notes in the red basket, snacks in their desks, coats in their bins). They also know that it is their responsibility to flip their attendance card and check in for lunch if needed. I have an activity or "wake up" work on their desk or the board for when they are done. This allows me time to report attendance, look at correspondence from home, etc.
We have classroom jobs that are rotated on a weekly basis. My "messenger" will help deliver any papers to the office or lunch room. Each child has two "freebie" trips to the bathroom. They each have two magnetic passes with their names on one of our cabinets. As long as the bathroom pass (one for boys, one for girls) is there, they may quietly get up and go as needed. Anything above and beyond their two passes, they need to ask permission. Other than a messenger, I usually assign a Row in charge duty to any one of the selected student in a group. The row in charge is responsible for gathering all the work from the group member. In this way, rather than all the students haphazardly moving here and there, they remain on their seats while their work is recovered from the in charge. As this duty is very exciting to the students, I tend to shift this duty around students so that everyone has an equal chance of being a leader.
Children of this age love to chat and tell you everything about their lives. One area I need to improve on is limiting the amount of "sharing" time. By the time twenty children tell you one story each, much important time has slipped away! I also need to work on my transition times. They tend to get noisy and a little chaotic. This is often when behavior issues occur. I will try to implement the suggestions on page 39 in the future.
Organization of time
I go in to school about an hour early each day and stay for about an hour after school each day. I use this time to make sure that I have all materials needed for each day laid out and within arm's reach. First graders are not very independent for long so there isn't much time during the day to get extras done. Also, the longer they need to wait for you to get organized, the more likely behavior problems erupt. I have ten literacy centers each week so I usually stay longer on Fridays or go in over the weekend to make sure my centers and plans are ready to go each Monday.
The basic aim of staying a little more and coming before the predefined time is what actually helps me in the longer run. By the time the students reach the classroom, everything is organized and on its place. This helps in saving a lot of time, and I am more focused on students, rather than looking for the stuff.
One more strategy that I adopt in order to mange time more effectively is that whenever I ask the students to take out the books or copies for the class, I usually take rounds throughout the class. This helps me in speeding up the process, and makes the students more focused on what they are actually supposed to do, rather than wasting time roaming in class or talking to each other. One other method of managing time is that I maintain a daily lesson plan diary for myself.
The reason for that diary is that I can keep track of the activities that were left due to shortage of time, and whenever I am free from a particular lesson earlier than the estimated time, I make use of that time by compensating the previous left out activities or lesson.
Climate of classroom
I work very hard at establishing a positive climate in my classroom. In our district, first grade is the child's first experience at being away from home for a full day. I think it's extremely important that they feel loved and secure. I try to make a personal connection with each of them on some level. I live in the area and have children in the district so many of the children know or see me outside of school. I think it helps that they know something about me as a person and my outside life. As mentioned, I start each day with a personal greeting and try to end each day the same way. During the day, I spend much time modeling correct behavior and teaching how to problem solve. My class spends a lot of time getting to know each other to establish a sense of community. We do getting to know you activities and often work in pairs and groups that are changed often. I think that I could improve on sharing control. I tend to expect the children to follow my rules which can lead to power struggles with some children. I need to learn that giving certain children choices doesn't necessarily mean they are in control. I need to practice structured choices that they discussed in the book.
One of the most important things that I have learned for chapter # 5 is that not responding to the negative behaviors by the student all the time. After the…