The previous year, classroom teachers dealt with some of the most serious disciplinary problems of our careers. While learning loss was a known effect of hybrid and remote learning, the loss of classroom maturation that occurs over the course of a student’s academic year was less anticipated. And any teacher in a regular classroom will agree that the first few months of the 2021–22 academic year were among the most challenging ever. But we did pick up some knowledge. We had to reinvest in classroom management best practices in order to reclaim our classrooms from students who had, shall we say, returned to school with an excess of unrestrained exuberance. We now appreciate the significance of putting these techniques into practice from the very first day of school and that they are fundamental realities in developing professionally and personally meaningful interactions with kids.
4 ACTIVE MEANS TO AVOID DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS
1. Create a seating plan for the first day.
Make a seating chart even if you don’t yet know their personalities or skills. Avoid grouping kids based on performance on standardized tests or any other skill that guarantees a bluebird is seated with a group. On the first day, they will see right through it. They have already gone through this. A randomized seating chart can be used in a variety of ways to start. You might even make it enjoyable. Give them a card with a question on it as soon as they enter, telling them their desk has the correct answer on it. Another alternative is to instruct them to arrange themselves alphabetically. As they discover their place in the world, they start to pick up a few names. These strategies might not be able to break up talkative pals, but keep in mind that changes to seating arrangements can be made at any time throughout the year and ought to be made in order to give students the opportunity to get to know one another. This will start the process of demonstrating to kids that you are in command and that you know what you’re doing.
2. Recognize them by name. Fast.
Students are less inclined to draw attention to themselves with inappropriate behavior when they know you know who they are. Additionally, it will make it easier for you to attract a student’s attention when you need to. Knowing pupils’ names will also give them the impression that you value them enough to take the time to do so. Most of us don’t like to make things difficult for those who share our opinions. Students are also subject to this. Play a name game to have the names mostly memorized. Make the pupils form a circle and stand. The kid immediately to your left introduces themselves and, to add some intrigue, responds to a simple query such as, “What is your favorite animal?” Then student 2 (to the left of student 1) must give their name, and their animal (which is simply for fun), and repeat student 1. Each student after that has to recall the names of every student before them as this goes around the room. It eventually circles back around to the final participant. By that point, practically all of the names have been mentioned numerous times. And who gets the honor of naming every pupil last? That is correct! You’ll have learned all of their names on the first day of school if you’ve been paying attention, so it’s your time.
3. Discover who they are at their core.
There are a variety of approaches to learning about pupils’ particular interests or what they value most in life, and I prefer to take a non-threatening, rather direct approach. I will ask students to write down five things they believe I should know about them and share them with me on the first day of class. Sometimes I’ll assign writing, but if it’s a less advanced class that might struggle with the demands of producing thorough responses, I’ll ask them to record a private Flipgrid recording instead. They may do the writing assignment in class, but if it involves watching a video, I ask them to take it home and complete it alone. These are kept private from my fellow pupils. This is not a test of your writing or communication abilities. My goal is to get to know my students. The majority of children enjoy writing about themselves, and those who don’t enjoy writing enjoy talking about themselves, I’ve discovered throughout the years. In this way, I discover more about them than I ever would in a grammatical class. I nearly always get a smile when I enquire about how their piano performance went or whether they enjoyed their weekend of snowboarding.
4. Welcome them at the entrance.
By the conclusion of the first day, you should already be familiar with their names, so on day two, you should welcome them by name. Missed one? Say their name three times after asking them immediately, “Thanks for telling me your name again, Eric. Eric, please have a seat. Eric, I hope you have a wonderful day. Though Eric will find you a touch strange, you’ll always remember his name. The greeting is what’s important. It demonstrates to pupils your appreciation for their presence, and it’s human nature to avoid arguing with someone who values you.
Teachers found it challenging to engage with students in the manner they would have liked due to distance learning, and they had to learn how to handle a variety of new disciplinary situations while adhering to Covid guidelines. In order to make the upcoming school year’s fall more smoother and more typical, let’s get back to the fundamentals of proactive classroom management.