The Elephant in the Classroom
It is August.
Do you know where your class management plan is? Take my word for it. For every August, 25 of them, I lived through dozens of classroom management plans.
Now I am retired and have the luxury of reflection and can say– I blew it!
From my experience, classroom MISmanagement, like an elephant in the classroom, upstaged any lesson I planned for students to be synced to my brilliant objective for the day.
Yes, such attentive students were there on the spot the first school days in August.
But as time went on–like September 1st, they checked out of attention and checked in with their fellow pilgrims about what’s up: their teachers, clothes, nails, hair, shoes, backpacks, gossip, music, phones, and who’s who with whom.
Once their brains absorbed the demographics of their classroom, they confidently pushed against any classroom boundaries set for them. That is how junior high students roll–the opinion of their peers is way more important than academics.
One day I googled “classroom management”and I hit the jackpot! The pay out comes from a blog by Michael Linsin loaded with sterling strategies for peaceful, learning classrooms. — http://www.smartclassroommanagement.com.
The posts are easy to read with instant common sense information you need to have a Dream Class.
The above links will get you started with his great philosophy and plan for well behaved classes. Mr. Linsin is an excellent elementary school teacher so some of his consequences for misbehavior might seem too young to work in junior high or high school. For example, a prime consequence in third grade is to remove a misbehaving student to another part of the classroom where he/she cannot participate.
Because some readers of his blog have asked him what about junior high, he said he writes for everyone but he has no time to create a junior high plan but that his ideas are for the most part universal and adaptable.
Yes, I would use the same plan for middle school students. There are obvious differences in how you speak and interact with older students, and some routines are different. But handling behavior remains the same. Other than minor age-related adjustments, there is no particular strategy I recommend that is exclusive to middle school students.
Lastly, if you already have your plan in place and it runs like a BMW, then that is great. If you have your plan in place but things start to unravel around September 15th, then click on this link. smartclassroommanagement.com Losing-control-of-your-classroom. There is always a chance to start over. I should know–I am a pro at starting over.