Develop a bag of tricks. Don’t smile until Christmas. These are two of the most common pieces of advice passed from veteran to novice teacher with respect to classroom management. The mentality that classroom management is a bag of tricks is extremely prevalent in today’s classrooms. A quick search for the term classroom management on the ever so popular Pinterest provides evidence of this mentality. The majority of pins related to classroom management are of “bag of trick” type techniques or “cutesy,” extrinsic-reward based systems. For example, a popular image is an empty Windex bottle that has been decorated and labeled with the phrase “quiet spray,” implying that a teacher can spritz her class, and they will all magically quiet down. There are also numerous images of school stores representing systems where students can earn play money for exhibiting appropriate behavior and purchase various prizes. These images perpetuate a limited and faulty mindset about classroom management. It’s time to stop thinking about classroom management as a “Bag of Tricks!”
So, if not a bag of tricks, what is classroom management?
Classroom management is a thoughtful and purposeful process consisting of key tasks that teachers address to develop an environment conducive to academic and social-emotional learning.
These tasks include:
- Organizing the physical environment
- Establishing rules and routines
- Developing safe, caring relationships
- Implementing engaging instruction
- Addressing discipline problems
All of these tasks play an important role when it comes to effectively managing your classroom. However, which tasks you emphasize more than others and what strategies you use to accomplish each task depends on factors such as your own beliefs, grade level and subject that you teach, your students, etc.
Which of these tasks play a crucial role in your classroom management plan?