Last year I had a ROUGH group of boys in my class. The four of them were great friends and really should have NEVER EVER NEVER been in a class together. They were the type of kids that have a rough life at home, and it reflected in the classroom. They had trouble interacting with others in a positive way. They would only talk to me if it was smack or negative. They thrived on making each other laugh and making me grit my teeth. The other students in the class hated them and made it quite well known. I broke up two or three fights that were two seconds away from being fist fights. It was a struggle. I read all the resources that I could find about classroom management. I talked to all my teacher friends and asked for advice. I talked to my school’s administration. I talked to their football coach. Nothing helped. It was a constant power struggle for who was in charge of the classroom. I let them win. I was tired, and I had had enough.
Why am I telling you all this, you might ask… Well, this summer I read THE Classroom Management Book written by the Wongs. It was an amazing read, and I very highly recommend it for all teachers. It had many techniques and procedures for everything from preschool to high school students. While reading this, I learned that supposedly by posting your classroom procedures and teaching them to your students within the first few weeks of school, you can drastically change the environment of your classroom. Now, I am definitely skeptical after the rough class that I had last year, where I doubt simply posting the rules could have helped these kids to focus and learn. However, this year I will be giving it a chance.
I have typed up all my procedures, and unfortunately I’m still skeptical. I am a young teacher, and I would say that I am pretty laid back when it comes to rules. I have a few things that I am a stickler about, but other than that, I’m chill. I think I got railroaded some last year. I am determined to not let that happen. It is easier to be tough and then ease back than it is to try and get stricter throughout the year. By posting the procedures, I am hoping that I can show the kids that I not only care about them enough to have these in place, but that I also will not allow others to disturb their learning process (like I, unfortunately, did last year).
There is always room for growth, and for me, there is room for LOTS of it. I look back on last year and that tough class, and I am sad. I’m sad for the four boys who were uncomfortable in my room without structure. I’m sad for the other students who were angels that had to suffer through all the inappropriate jokes, screaming, and cussing. I will not let this power struggle happen again. I have put a few procedures in place specifically to try and remedy these types of situations. I’ll let you know what happens this year and if I think that having procedures posted makes a difference.
What do you think about posting your procedures in your classroom? Have you done this and seen any results (negative or positive)? Did the students have any comments about the use of specific procedures in your classroom?