Classroom management is the hardest lesson that teachers learn...and sadly it can't be learned in college...it is certainly "talked about" but the only way to learn this one is on the job (sorry new teachers...on the plus side it gets better :).
It has been my experience that new teachers can learn any content with some degree of confidence...find a lesson and support material without too much difficult...and deliver it with authority. It is when you throw in the kids where everything gets tripped up :)
My first year as a science teacher with no science background I felt pretty good about if I could stay one day ahead of my pacing guide... for example, I had no idea what a dichotomous key was until the week before I had to teach it...um...let alone pronounce it :) but I powered through the content like a champ however, I struggled with the students. I invited seasoned teachers (that I like and respected) to come in and give advice and I went and observed them during my planning periods. It was a rough first year. FYI - sometimes you have other teachers offering up help that do not match your teaching style so its important to find those "like and respect" teachers quickly and know how to get rid of the others.
With several years under my belt and lots of classroom experience I can pretty much walk into a classroom and be fine...for the most part...sometimes the universe likes to remind me not to become too complacent :).
I recently ran across this classroom management video through a blog I follow and I loved it!!!!! The teacher is funny, engaging, and best of all...realistic. I would make this mandatory viewing for all teachers.
The points from the video that resonated with me were:
1. Model the "craycray" - I do that in the classroom during my first days of schools and the kids LOVE it (The teacher acting crazy?!?! What?!?!). My favorite craycray skit is simply titled "the bathroom". I model what I don't every want to hear/see when someone exits the bathroom...I was lucky to have one in the room and you can imagine what came out of fourth grad mouths.
2. Be careful of the "spill over" - I was a departmentalized teacher and often my troubles were "spill overs" from other classes. I learned quickly to engage students THE MOMENT they walked in the classroom.
3. "Snitches Get Stiches" - If I had to call a parent or write up a child you can pretty much guarantee that I exhausted every possible means in my power. Not because I was afraid of the parent but because most things can be handled "in house." Teachers who are ALWAYS calling a parent or writing up a child pretty much scream "I can't handle them" to everyone else.
4. "Hall-acostations" - This was just a cool term for quizzing kids in the halls between classes to keep them on their toes.
5. Don't take it personally and don't engage in a power struggle - I've seen grown teachers argue with 10 year olds (it happens to the best of us and I'm not going to lie... it is super easy to let your inner 10 year old come out). If you find yourself arguing with a child...stop...stop immediately. You.will.never.win. The moment you engage you have lost. I know several teacher who are unable to recognize they are even doing it...and it is painful to watch...for them and for the student.
There were lots of other good things in the 11 minute video...so pull up a chair and prepare to be entertained!
Direct link to the video can be found by clicking HERE.