Educational Philosophy

Classroom Management

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Kids can and will, drive you crazy! However, it is a huge part of your job as an educator, to manage your classroom. Thus, there are three key things that you must do early on. Set high expectations, give reasonable consequences and be consistent. Those are the keys to effective classroom management for minority students.

As an educator, I have spent my career in Title I schools whose primary population are minoritiy and at risk students. I have had my fair share of trials and triumphs but one thing that every principal says about me, is that my class is one of (if not the most) well managed rooms they have ever seen. Achieving this goal was not rocket science, it was common sense. I asked one question of myself, before I developed my classroom policies; what is the one way to avoid issues with children? The answer was simply, have structure and keep them busy.

Every management book a teacher can read says the same thing; behavior issues arise when children are idle and unstructured. Thus, set high expectations within a rigorous course to fend off behavior problems. What this means for the teacher is to plan and over plan both for the class itself, and for the creation activities that are not monotonous. Begin by knowing what you want to accomplish, and sharing that with your students. Don't wait until mid year and give your students their guidelines, begin on day one of classes. Create a list of nonnegotiable for your room. However, this list should not be more than 3 to 5 things. You don't want to overwhelm your students, or yourself. Then, create consequences for those nonnegotiables. Lastly, teach and model these desires, to your class. Do not assume that your students know what these things are. A lot of minority kids come from homes that lack routines and structure so they will not know what you are asking of them. Therefore, dialogue about what each thing looks like, what it doesn't look like and how the consequences work. Only then will you and the student have the insurance policy of knowing that everyone is in agreement as to what is required.

Next, plan to teach with pizazz. Spice of your teaching style and include more hands- on and interactive lessons. Students who are actively engaged in their learning, have less time to do off task, trouble related things. Likewise, instill ownership in your minority students. Make them accountable for high quality, high level of thinking and high achievement products. This means, do not accept excuses! Yes, some of your students do not have access to all materials. And yes, some must take care of siblings at home. Unfortunately, these things should not excuse them from their responsibilities as a student. In order for this to happen, though, you must issue fair and consistent consequences.

Don't yell about everything! Just explain that this was the assignment and issue a punishment for not meeting that expectation. Choose your punishments very wisely. You want your kids to want to learn. Therefore, create some value for doing what is expected too. No this does not mean you have to buy your kids things. It means, praise them as often as you chastise them. A smile and a refreshing compliment goes a long way with minority students. For many of them, they have never had someone say something nice to or about them, in their entire lives. Thus, if you are the first, what type of investment do you think this will send to them?

The bottom line is this, don't treat your minority students, any different than other students. Make them work for you and you work with them!

More about this author: Brandy Williams

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