Become a Strong Classroom Leader

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In my last post, I mentioned that one of the greatest anxieties I faced as a teacher, was “How to manage my classroom so all students could learn.”  So, based on my experiences and researching various classroom leadership strategies, I would like to share a few ideas modified from Tyler Hester’s blog that supports everything I believe is important to become a true classroom leader.

Love and Care for Your Students

While spending many years observing classroom teachers, I believe that the one element that separates good teachers from great teachers is that they love and truly care about their students. They stand firmly against behavior that doesn't reflect the inner greatness of the child. Students often internalize their own inadequacy, and it is our responsibility to remind them of their infinite value. By loving our students unconditionally, we remind them of their true worth.

Remember, students know how we feel about them. They see it in our actions toward them and our tone. Therefore, the student is justified in resenting us, for we have failed to see the beauty that exists within that child. Maya Angelou said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Have High Expectations for Your Students

When a student does not meet a classroom expectation, they need to know that you love them but not their misbehavior. They need to know that you care for them and will not accept their poor choice because it will ultimately hurt them and doesn’t reflect how great they really are.

Praise Students as Often as Possible

Call attention to the things your students do that are positive.

It enables you to restate and reinforce the expectations for student behavior in a non-negative way. It enables students who may have misheard you the first time to hear exactly what you expect of them. It is easier for students to meet your expectations when they are stated clearly.

It shows your students that you're very aware of what's happening in the classroom. When they realize that you see and hear everything, they know that you are serious and that even their smallest actions matter.

Minor Misbehaviors Matter

In those first few minutes, hours and days in the classroom, you are creating a environment. And you want that environment to put your students on a path to a life filled with meaningful opportunities. Behaviors or actions that will detract from that environment should be eliminated. If you only "sweat" major misbehaviors, students will get the sense that minor misbehaviors are OK. If, on the other hand, you lovingly confront even the smallest misbehaviors, then it will be clear to students that anything that detracts from what you're trying to achieve is unacceptable.

Let Your Students Know Who You Are

Tell your students about who you are and why you're there. A classroom where each student deeply trusts the teacher has the potential to be a great environment for learning. To build that trust, tell your students who you are and why you chose to be a teacher. Tell them about your background, what you did when you were their age, and why you want to be their teacher. The more your students know about you and your intentions, the more they'll trust you to lead them.

Create a Respectful Environment

Begin the year by forging a positive, collective identity as a class. Praise the entire class so that they began to feel they were part of something special in your classroom. Conversely, redirect individual students rather than the whole class. If possible, address behavior issues in private and give the student a dignified way to get out of a bad situation

Plan and Be Prepared

Preparation and planning will unquestionably help to minimize behavior issues in your classroom.  Boredom is the primary cause of acting out. If you keep students engaged, you will maximize their ability to lean and they will be less likely to cause classroom discipline issues. This also applies to transitions during class time. Try increasing the variety of learning activities but decrease transition time. Student engagement and on-task behaviors are dependent on how smoothly and efficiently teachers move from one learning activity to another.

Hope these Ideas are helpful!    Until Next Time … Dr. G.