Classroom Management Strategies
As a para-educator, I am not in charge of classroom management. If I am ever alone in a classroom I follow the management strategies of the teacher. I feel very strongly that in my role, I can’t openly offer different ideas for classroom management. I do notice approaches that do not work and if I am asked for my input I will offer it, but typically I follow the lead of the teacher. It is hard, at least in my situation to get the same respect from the students that they give the teacher, so if I try to do something different the students don’t respond anyway. If I am backed by a teacher that’s a different story.
There are a few strategies that I do see that seem to work pretty well to manage an unruly classroom. It’s human nature to know what is expected of us, so a useful tool is an agenda. I go to classrooms that have a specific routine and teachers offer a clear explanation of what class will look like for that specific block. Then within the last few minutes of class the teacher will give a reminder if something is due for the next time they meet. This is good for all types because there is a clear expectation for what the class will look like that day. This is an example of the categories a teacher may use for the daily agenda:
Classwork, what class time will look like
Teachers like to give students the benefit of the doubt and let them choose where they would like to sit in their classroom. We all know that this does not always work for the best of the classroom. Changing desk arrangements and creating seating charts are great tools for better classroom management. Students don’t always like the person that they end up sitting next to, but often there will be better attention to the teaching going on and less attention to their neighbor. On certain occasions there will be that “one in every bunch” who can be distracting or distracted no matter where they are sitting.
I like the approach on page 87 for if students are defiant. I specifically like the part of asking them questions. I am guilty of engaging in a power struggle, but I have tried a few times asking them, “What are students supposed to be doing right now?” etc. The questions offered don’t seem to leave an opening for a rude or ridiculous answer, although there will always be that one student that will push my buttons. I also like, but have not yet tried the firm alternatives. Students don’t like to give up their lunch or their free time, so giving them the alternative of doing their work in the moment or during their lunch time seems like it could work. Many times, at least in high school, the student would just not show up.