I can’t believe I have to have this conversation with these kids again. For the fourth time. Yes, I am serious when I say to work on the assignment without talking. No, it certainly shouldn’t take 10 minutes to find your books. Yes, I meant that it was due today.  No, please don’t dance on your way to the water fountain and distract everyone. Eyes closed, calm deep breaths. One mississippi, two mississippi…

We’ve all had days like this, am I right? Sometimes classroom days are like this. Sometimes for lots of days in a row. Working with many kids with different personalities, family lives, temperaments, and abilities, is bound to cause some angst, friction, discord. Even the most experienced, most educated, most brilliant teachers don’t have it all together all the time.

This is comforting. However, it doesn’t let us off the hook. If you’re anything like me, and I’m sure you are, you desire to manage a classroom of respect, learning, and fun, where kids grow academically, socially, emotionally by leaps and bounds in the ten months we’re charged with them.

I came across this article from Corwin Connect entitled The Secret to Classroom Management. You’re kidding – there’s a secret? I’ve got to read this. What I read was really very validating, encouraging, and (if we’re being completely honest here) sort of frightening.  My job as a teacher to the 19 fourth graders entrusted to me this year has less to do with perfect management plans and well-thought-out behavior charts, and more with me. Me. My attitude, my behavior, and my actions.

The author describes effective teachers as calm, assertive, and controlled. Effective teachers get to know their students on a personal level and connect individually with them each and every day. Effective teachers take time to build connections between students and get involved in their lives. Effective teachers have healthy outlets for frustration and supportive people built into their lives.

So many of these things we all do every day. Some are harder to implement or maintain, but not impossible and important to be reminded of. To refill our half-full cups of optimism after a difficult day (or string of days). To put on our own oxygen mask first. Our own attitude, demeanor, and presence are stronger and more important than we can imagine.

I now pass this article and these thoughts on to you.  Classroom management and the atmosphere we desire to create is a marathon, not a sprint, and some miles are easier than others. Know that your energy, enthusiasm, and hard work are making a difference. Kudos to you, fearless classroom managers.
Ellen Raupp