- Why is it not working?
- What can I change to make this better?
(because there is always something you can do to make your classroom atmosphere even better than it is).A quick example is that my students have been rushing in from recess and lining up at the waterfountain to get drinks and it is driving me NUTS because, no matter how many times we've talked about how to line up, how to get quick drinks, how NOT to touch the Promethean Board, how to stand on the floor (not on the PB stool), etc...it continues. So new regs were put in place (due to me "checking in" with myself). The students may STILL get a drink, but we will model it by having them go rug row by rug row. The first entire row to be sitting quietly will get to go get a drink first and MODEL for the class how to do it. I'll tell you our procedure just in case someone else has this same issue: I have put a piece of green duct tape (love all the new colors!) about 2 feet in front of the fountain and that is where the next person waits. The 2nd person also counts for the drinker to get a 3 banana drink (grab your "1 banana, 2 banana, 3 banana SPLIT" poster from my buddy, Jennifer at Empowering Little Learners! Isn't it great??).
Guess what? Our drink-getting time is working out just fine now. No more monkey business and that's what I love. It was a simple solution, it just took me reflecting and creating a change that makes my students successful which is what it is all about.
When you have behaviors that are not being controlled (for the most part) by the positive praise, the class models, and the behavior system you have in place, it is time to go to the next step to figure out just what you can do to help this child be successful in a regular classroom environment. This is what I do when a child has consistently not done well according to my Clip Chart System:
- Contact the parent(s). (Hopefully this will not be your first phone call or note home. EVERY child has something wonderful about them in a classroom that their parent(s) should know BEFORE they find out that their child is misbehaving in school.) They CAN be your biggest ally if you are having issues with their little one. They can provide insight as to whether there is something going on at home that may trigger these behaviors, how they successfully handle their child or maybe they just need a little guidance on what to do. If you are working together (and the child has the natural ability) the problem will be worked out. As soon as a child realizes you DO know their home phone number (ha ha!) and you WILL be chatting with his/her family, it is usually END OF GAME, if you know what I mean. If parents are willing to follow up with their child's behavior on a regular basis, I am willing to communicate with them on a daily basis (my Clip Chart post will include how I do this quickly and effectively DAILY). This is for them to CELEBRATE, as well as to dole out punishments. I always say, "It takes a little bit of time out of my school day to do this, BUT it buys me more academic time later." Enlisting parental support is KEY in lots of instances.
- If the child continues to have difficulty, talk to your guidance counselor and colleagues for some guidance, that is what they are there for. The child could benefit from some 1 on 1 "me" time with the counselor or you might get some insight from others that you just hadn't thought of yet. (Even veteran teachers can learn new techniques, I can say that from experience!).
- TALK to the child. Try to carve some time into your day that involves just you and the child chatting. This accomplishes a couple of different things: it makes the child realize that you still care about them even if they've been having a hard time in class AND it also could potentially provide some insight as to why that child is misbehaving.
I hope this is helpful in some way for you. Classroom management is something that can't be taught in college courses and needs to be redesigned on a yearly basis (often more frequent than that with constant reflection from the classroom teacher) to fit the needs of each particular group you have. Any insight from other teachers is welcomed in the comment section.