If classroom management is an ongoing issue for you, you are not alone. It's an ongoing issue for many teachers or anyone who works with kids. Nearly half of new teachers report they feel “not at all prepared” or “only somewhat prepared” to handle disruptive students. This is, in part, because the average teacher training program devotes just eight hours to the topic, according to a 2014 report from the National Council on Teacher Quality. This lack of training comes with a cost. Teachers report losing 144 minutes of instructional time on average to behavioral disruptions every week which comes out to roughly three weeks over the course of a year.
Unfortunately, research indicates that teachers overwhelmingly report lack of professional development support in improving classroom management. How to effectively manage student behavior is the #1 concern I am asked to consult, coach and train on. It doesn’t matter if you are the most experienced teacher or the least experienced. We all deal with problem behavior. Over time it can take its toll on you, and the students, if not addressed as early as possible.
This is the time of the year when you begin the school year hopeful. Summer break refreshed and rejuvenated you. You look forward to the new year and new students. You are optimistic this year’s students will be different – and better - than previous years. You are optimistic that you have the right classroom/group management plan ready to implement to avoid past behavioral problems.
Then, the school year starts…
And within the first 3-4 weeks, one of two things happens…
Your plan for managing student behavior works. (YAY!)
Your plan for managing student behavior doesn’t work. (UGH!)
I’ve been in the training and consulting business long enough to see what happens when the plan doesn’t work and continues to not work as time goes on. Frustration, disappointment and discouragement sets in with you – and the negative behavior of students gets worse. It’s usually at this point a call for help is made.
While there are almost always solutions to most behavioral problems, it is more challenging to reverse a negative situation the longer it continues. This is why my new school year resolution is to be more proactive than reactive. I want to offer you tips, insights and training NOW – before you get to the point of desperation. My goal this school year for you is to keep your sanity as long as possible – or better yet, all year long!
My blog this week and over the next few weeks will offer you some of the most common pieces of advice I usually give as a coach to teachers. As you very well know, there is never one simple answer to every situation when it comes to managing student behavior. There are lots of variables to consider. The advice and tips I offer are pretty straightforward and approaches you can implement by yourself. The tips work no matter if you teach in a school classroom or with kids in afterschool hours. While the goal always is to enhance prosocial behavior with your students, I believe it is important to do it in a way that empowers students, keeps them highly engaged, lets them know you care and makes what you’re doing fun for them and you!
So, do a quick read of this week’s blog, Reading You Like a Book. It talks about the impact role models – like you - can have on students and how what you do and how you do it can influence their own behavior.