happy first day ~ managing your classroom with heart | olive june
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happy first day ~ managing your classroom with heart

i spent a good portion of this weekend re-reading the book, managing your classroom with heart, by katy ridnouer, a parent at the school where i teach. drawing on her own experience as a teacher, she shares an approach to classroom management that helps you spend less time "dealing with" your adolescent learners and more time inspiring them to be their best selves in school and beyond. managing with heart means accepting teenage students as they are and recognizing what they need; a connection with the curriculum; a sense of order; and most essentially, a sense that someone cares. 


for those of you that are interested, here are some of the highlights that i pulled out: 


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- the importance of balancing care and discipline

- interacting with students and their parents

- establishing classroom routines that keep students on task 

- communicating expectations and ensuring accountability

- building trust and helping students feel emotionally and intellectually safe

Four Guidelines~

1. Don't ever let students fast-talk you:
- Let the student speak, look him/her square in the face and hold your gaze
- Raise hand to a stop position 
- "If you need to discuss further, come see me after class."
- Repetition is key

2. Stay Focused on the Problem 
- Sometimes we instead address our emotional response 
- This can turn into a rant- that prolongs the class disruption 
- Acknowledge the student's complaint by repeating 

- Confirm that you are going to continue class and that he/she can be addressed later

3. See the Big Picture 
- Right response to the situation 
- Investigate- is something else going on? "Those remarks you made were hurtful and unnecessary- is something bothering you?"
- It shows you care

4. Don't Sell out on your Values 
- I honor my values by not taking the easy way out; by managing my classroom in a manner that promotes individuality, honesty, and passion - and by having students read literature that addresses these themes 
- Share your values with students by modeling them in your classroom- the more you do it, the more you will care about your classroom, your teaching life, and your students. 
*Classroom management is not about winning and losing; it's about having high expectations of yourself and your students and standing by them for the betterment of everyone involved. 
* Caring is a bridge to whatever a student defines as success. 
* Learn to hold your tongue
* Students' anger isn't necessarily about you 
* Your words matter
* If you treat each student as a unique individual with a life separate from your own experience, you will connect with that student or end the school year trying. that's all you can do. 
* Never "turn" on the entire class out of exasperation for one student
* Kids of all ages want boundaries 
* When the cannot pinpoint exactly how you feel about them, they often decide that you think of them negatively, and they behave negatively in turn. 
* At the very beginning of the school year, let the students know where you draw the lines in your classroom and what constitutes bad behavior that is out of bounds.  
* Explain that your rules are meant to help them choose their behavior. 

~A Four-Step Process for Caring Discipline~

Step One: A Non-Verbal Warning
Step Two: A Verbal Warning
Step Three: A Private Conversation 
Step Four: Removal from Class and a Parent Conference 


Choosing your Battles:

- Rules that promote learning
- Rules that do not affect learning


... i will keep you all posted on year 7 ~
as i continue to teach my students in the best way i know how... 
hopefully managing with my heart daily. 

with love,
mrs. monaco

1 comment:

  1. Hope your first day went well! My feet hurt, I probably lost a few pounds today (very little time to eat lunch and lots of running around), and my voice is hoarse (not used to talking so much-this happens every year!). I give you a lot of credit for teaching middle school--I don't think I could do it. I've always said that, and reading your "take-aways" from the book have reaffirmed that sentiment. Many people say the same about teaching kindergarten, too, though. Teaching really is a calling, and the age of students we teach is a calling, too!

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