From Lesson Planning to Classroom Management
Classroom success is subjective. When it comes to success, you get out of it what you put into it.
Here are My Top 5 Tips for Classroom Success:
Building a Classroom Culture
For me, the top thing you need to be successful is flexibility. A lot of things get thrown at you as an educator. Covering classrooms, missed specials, IEP meetings, parent meetings, etc. In a second your whole schedule for the day could be completely thrown off. A successful educator is quickly able to adjust on the fly. I have known too many fellow educators who let a change in schedule disrupt their entire day, week, month, and year. Don’t be that person.
Every school and district is different in what is required with lesson planning. I found success in my classroom by simply writing page numbers and having an idea of what I was doing for each day. I only made copies in the morning for what I needed for the day and sometimes scrapped, or rearranged my plans to best suit, my students. Now, some districts/schools require you to write out formal lesson plans for each day (which is insanity), but I’m telling you, for me, a lesson plan didn’t fail because I just wrote a skeletal outline of what I was doing.
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Classroom management is a scary concept.
I think many people balance that line between too soft and too firm. I always made sure that my students knew that we could have fun, but we need to make sure that they still know that work needs to get done, and they need to be respectful. I’ve always said if it hurts someone physically, or emotionally, we shouldn’t be doing it. I see a lot of new teachers, (not all), who are looking to be friends with their students. While you should be friendly, you still need to show your group that you are the one in charge. If you are looking for respect from your students you won’t get it by acting like their friends. Have you ever heard how middle schoolers talk to their friends? I rest my case.
In regards to consequences, you need to follow your district plan accordingly. I always find a single warning, followed by action works the best whether that’s recess detention, after-school detention, or in-school suspension. Kids catch on quickly when you dish out empty threats. It opens the door for kids to keep pushing the limit.
Building a Classroom Culture
My favorite part of a new school year was meeting my new community of learners. Getting to know my scholars was so much fun. I always did a house points system in my room, so groups of students worked together to use positive behavior. We do mental health check-ins, meditation, and group talks. I make my room a safe place for all students. I make it known that they can come to me with anything, and it stays between us (unless it involves their safety or the safety of someone else). We celebrate victories and share about our weekends. They like to hear about your own kids, and see you attend special events.
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Set Healthy Boundaries
I can’t say this enough, SET. HEALTHY. BOUNDARIES. That means no emails outside of school. You should only be checking your inbox during school hours. What did parents do before the invention of the email? They called, or left a message, maybe wrote a note. You are not on-call 24/7. You are allowed to take 24 hours to respond to a challenging parent. You are allowed to leave work at work. I never brought home grading or planning. My time at home was for my family. I know that some of you are reading this going “WHAT!? When did you get all of your stuff done?!” During the day. I got it done during independent work time, planning time, the little time before school, or a small amount of time after school. I made decisions about things that needed to be graded. I didn’t grade everything that they did. It’s okay to throw stuff away. Just make sure you have a healthy relationship with the word “no”. “No, I don’t have the time to complete that. No, I don’t have time to add that to my plate. No, I can’t take that on.” As cliche as this sounds, make sure you are taking care of yourself also.
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With love and support,