{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I have a question, but to put it in context takes more characters than this allows--I'll explain more in a reply.\nBriefly, I struggled through seven miserable years of teaching until I finally got asked back by a school in 2019. My classroom management was disastrous; I knew it, but couldn't seem to fix it.\nThen I took a seminar, and got better. It really was that simple, though of course I'm still learning.\nSo, can classroom management be taught? I believe so, but no one else seems to agree.", "post_id": "60c4b12948712c001c72847d", "reply_count": 73, "vote_count": 14, "bowl_id": "5c751b9f2f6b98001bc666f8", "bowl_name": "Teachers" }

I have a question, but to put it in context takes more characters than this allows--I'll explain more in a reply. Briefly, I struggled through seven miserable years of teaching until I finally got asked back by a school in 2019. My classroom management was disastrous; I knew it, but couldn't seem to fix it. Then I took a seminar, and got better. It really was that simple, though of course I'm still learning. So, can classroom management be taught? I believe so, but no one else seems to agree.

likeupliftingsmart
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My college experience was great at some things and not so great at others. Classroom management wasn’t one of the good ones, except for the fact there was a lot of emphasis on how to teach students rather than content and in that sense it was good. They did not teach us specific skills, but rather how to recognize behaviors. In my experience, and many other’s, it’s all about relationships. It’s good to have those go to skills to diffuse a situation, but ultimately it’s better to not have issues in the first place which comes from trust and the relationships you build with each group of kids. I rely on some go to techniques early in the year with problem kids, but by about a month I , I rarely if ever have discipline issues or classroom management problems. All that is probably easier said than done and takes time, but I think the key is genuinely caring about each of your students and having them know that. Once they know you care about them as an individual, it’s amazing what you can get them to do. You are elementary school, I am middle school and have done high school, so there are some differences there for sure. Those small skills in your tool box are more effective in elementary I’d imagine, but I think the same relationship building applies.

funnylikesmart

I’ve taught for 32 years, and relationships ARE essential... the problem I’ve seen is when teachers (& parents!) want the relationship to be a FRIENDSHIP... that can’t happen, and for so many students now that’s so much of the problem, the parents want to be friends with their kids so the kids aren’t used to adults being adults. I’ve seen it happen with teachers, especially younger teachers, as well. I’ve told student teachers, students don’t need you to be their friend, they have friends, what they need is a teacher who is an adult that respects them, cares about them, & keeps them all accountable so they can actually learn. I tell my students the first day that I 100% respect them, and they need to respect me & everyone else in the room or there will be consequences, and then I follow through, which to be honest they typically aren’t used to. In some ways it’s like being a salesman, but what you are selling them is their own future, done correctly almost all students will buy. My mom said if you are a good, disciplined parent to your children, the reward is that when they become adults they NOW become your friends, but ultimately you are always a parent. For me students are the same.

likehelpful

Classroom management determines whether or not any teaching and learning goes on in your classroom. You have to be happy to be in the classroom, thrilled with the pleasure of teaching youth, and confident in your abilities to actually know your material enough to teach it. That’s minimal in regards to requirements. However, the most important thing is to tell and show students that you respect them, love them, and care about their well-being. You should work on expressing how much you care that they succeed in your class, in school, and outside of school. Be firm but understanding. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be consistent in your approach daily. Don’t cut students any slack when you are establishing yourself as the authority and explaining rules and expectations. How you handle discipline in the beginning determines if you will spend more time teaching or disciplining. The goal is to spend 100% of the time teaching and learning. Be tough but be yourself. You might not be as tough or loud as the teacher down the hall because you don’t have to be. But if it takes you being loud and authoritative, don’t be embarrassed to go there. The 3 students who will give you problems. Don’t get angry with them. Be kinder than you have to be and focus on building a relationship with them. Never forget you are the adult with a plan. Leave the pettiness on social media and treat students with respect but ensure they are reprimanded when they are wrong. My students love me. They always want to come to my classroom to visit. They speak to me in the hallways. They visit me on my planning period. I’m firm but I show them ALL love. They know I have goals for them and together that’s our focus. I’m the adult. They are teenagers that have a lot to learn about how to treat people with respect. You model it day in and day out and show them the right example. There is a program called Capturing Kids’ Hearts. The program is all about relationships. Once student believe you care, they will manage their own behavior in class. The whole class will work as a team to come together to make class look and function as it should. Classroom management is key, the foundation to a respectful classroom.

likesmart

I believe teaching is absolutely is a calling that requires skill and continuous development. Approaching this work with passion is important and leading a classroom with love and respect sets a tone. I’m always surprised when my kids elect me as their favorite. I am no nonsense, I set high expectations, and I push my student hard. Apparently they appreciate it.

likesmart
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Okay, a little more background, if you're interested. I went into teaching with great enthusiasm and optimism, as my student teaching had gone well and I'd gotten excellent grades. So it was devastating to me when I found that no matter how hard I tried, how much I cared, my classes were bedlam. Administrators and other teachers alike seemed amazed at my ineptitude. I realize now that it was partly my own insecurity that was the problem--I took everything too personally, put too much pressure on myself. But... in my defense, it seemed like the books I read and the administrators judging me promoted the same mindset. I was ineffective, a hopeless cause. The seminar I took wasn't anything extraordinary or magical, by the way. It simply taught specific, basic techniques for preventing and defusing unwanted behavior. It *taught* those things. That was the difference! It wasn't some innate ability that a teacher had or didn't have; it was a set of guidelines one could work on and improve. Am I crazy for believing that aspiring teachers should learn and practice these sorts of things? My education alma mater seems to think so... I know most teachers probably pick it up more quickly, on their own, than I did--but I don't think I exaggerate when I tell you that a similar seminar, taken in college, could have saved me seven years of misery and self-doubt.

likehelpfulupliftingfunny

Yes, yes, yes you are on the money!!! From someone who is approaching her 40th year in the classroom teaching it was a seminar “back in the day” as they say. It was also a major focus of both my student teaching seminars. I have had student teachers most years and know when that requirement was dropped, it was immediately apparent. I have spoken with college supervising professors and they confirmed it is no longer a requirement. It is not about all the behavior programs in the world it is about figuring out and understanding the reasons for the behaviors and devising the environment to support the students needs so the behaviors and chaos are not needed. Good for you for persisting and figuring a way to succeed! Good Luck!

uplifting

You’re not crazy. I firmly believe that colleges do a miserable job of teaching classroom management, and yet that determines whether you are successful in the classroom or not in those first years. Heck, you can learn content the night before and pull it off, but if you can’t keep the attention and engagement of kids content is worthless. Colleges need to teach more management skills!

likeupliftingsmartfunny

I’m trying to recall if I even had a classroom management class in colkege. I remember we had to get the book by Harry Wong and that’s about it. I take every classroom management training I can get. And learn tricks of the trade from other teachers. It can’t hurt to make your life easier!

likeupliftinghelpful

Yes, you can teach classroom management techniques but each individual teacher has to make those techniques their own.

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Definitely, agreed

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First of all kudos for sticking with teaching. As you have shown, teachers are a tenacious bunch. I’m pretty sure we invented grit! That being said, I believe too much is asked of new teachers. Joining this profession should NOT be a crucible, it should be a nurturing supportive process. You are absolutely correct that classroom management can and should be taught. Like many here I was also disgusted by the ineffectual classroom management taught in my teaching program. It was only effective with an “ideal” student from a certain background and culture. It did not address the real and diverse challenges and experiences that our students come with. I’ve seen that new teachers are thrown into the classroom with the same workload as an experienced teacher of 15 years and are often given the more challenging students (in elementary) or the more challenging remedial classes (in high school). For new teachers of color this can be even more of a challenge because of social inequalities that make life harder in general than their white colleagues.

likeuplifting

I agree it can. I also think it can evolve over time and with experience. May I ask which class you took?

like

I also use Restorative Discipline. It works for me.

likehelpfulfunny

I use a bit of the Teaching with love and logic, and Michael Grinders ENVOY training. But something I have noticed is that over my 30 years of teaching, my classroom management has changed dramatically. I think this is due to my adapting to changes in students and society, but also as I changed from young and enthusiastic to more mature and seasoned. My classroom management also varies between grades I am teaching and whether my class is a required class or an elective so over the course of a day my management style can look very different.

likesmarthelpful

Yes! I think being adaptable is extremely important, though a difficult skill to acquire--we differentiate learning for other subjects, so why not behavior?

I was extremely fortunate in two things. Both my parents are teachers and I subbed for 6 years before I got my credential. The wisdom I got from my parents and the experience I got from visiting multiple classrooms in multiple school environments was invaluable. I developed my classroom management during that time. I learned what worked and what didn’t work for me. Teacher prep programs do a horrible job of teaching classroom management and I dare say they aren’t too great at how to teach content. I learned all of these things from mentors and outside professional development. And your lack of confidence is a product of our society’s “blame the teacher mentality.” There is not enough said about how teachers should be honored and praised for getting in the ring each year with a bunch of unknown variables and trying to make them all add up to growth. I’m glad you found something that works.

likeupliftingfunny

Classroom management cannot be taught in a classroom alone, you need lab time with a live audience to develop it. It’s the biggest failing on our teacher preparation programs .

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P.S. It really doesn't matter if other people agree.

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I wish that were true, but I'm trying to save other inexperienced teachers from the same fate! Many leave after just a couple of years--what a sad waste.

likesmartfunny

Rick Morris and Harry Wong's First Days of School are great resources for classroom management.

likehelpful

No, they are not. I knew someone would bring up that book and I hate it. I'm sure it has worked for some people, but all it did for me was make me feel horrible about myself.

I’m realizing that my teaching education seems to be one of the few that included classroom management. We even had to choose a grade and design a management plan around that particular grade! So thankful because it helped me to land a 7th grade Social Studies position.

like

Yes, classroom management can be taught. The teacher must be willing to put the strategies into practice. I’ve witnessed situations where teachers with no classroom management are out and substitute teachers have better control of the classrooms. Same students; different adults.

like

Being a specialist, the home room teacher has a lot of influence over their class. I can tell over the years how each class behaves according to their home room teacher. The key is to hold them to the highest standard of behavior. Even if they behave poorly in their home room class and that teacher has no control, when they get to YOUR class, even though it’s only for 30 minutes, you have to let them know they will be held accountable according to YOUR management strategy.

I really relate to this. I'm not naturally charismatic or commanding and neither my credential program nor either of the teachers I student taught for did much to help our advise me how to manage a classroom. I struggled. My administrators and induction mentors also were not helpful during my first two years on this front either (the comment that I seemed nervous and that was my problem did nothing to make me less nervous and more successful). My saving grace was actually landing in a position with students no one had been successful getting in line (opportunity program) which meant that no one expected my results to look great and I had space and grace to keep trying. So yes, it can be learned. I don't think people who it comes naturally to understand how to though.

likehelpful

Yes, it can be taught and demonstrated for greater effectiveness from time to time to access your effectiveness.

like

Yes, it can be taught. When I first started teaching it was all about rules and procedures, now the focus is on relationships. I learned these ideas from reading and listening to others talk about them. While I believe these ideas can be taught, teachers must make the effort to developed their talent by keeping up with the latest research and applying it in their classrooms, while refining those strategies to fit their personality.

like

Best practices FTW!

I totally agree it can be taught. The question is do the teachers that need to learn better classroom management want to learn it?

smarthelpful

I know I did. It's absolutely exhausting being an ineffective teacher!

I believe someone is faithful to put in the work necessary, available to take the time necessary for the training and practice, and teachable enough to approach the topic with humility will be able to improve by leaps and bounds. Lacking any of those three qualities leads to failure. Feel free to dig out the acronym I used there to remember those key qualities of being a good student of any skill.

likesmart

Oh, sorry! I am sometimes overly sensitive (another thing not helpful in classroom management). I should have realized you were just sharing something that worked for you. No worries

likehelpful

What I found effective was finding a teacher in the building who has really good classroom management and asking to observe him / her during prep time in the first few days of school. You'd be amazed how helpful this can be.

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