Today one of my viewers of the video “Proven Classroom Management” asked “Is it too late to start over a week after school starts?” My answer; NO, IT IS NEVER TOO LATE!
Now to be perfectly honest it is much better to start the very first day of class, but it can be done later and should be, if needed. It will be harder, however it can be done. So let’s lay out a process by which you can get an effective learning environment in your classroom.
You need to establish a personal presence, in order to have control of the learning environment so the classroom is safe, secure, and comfortable for all your students to learn. The best way for that to happen is for the students to respect you. For that to happen you need control. To get control after school has already started you need to first decide the most important procedure to implement. In order to rein them in you need to concentrate on no more than three to begin your road to full control.
- Students must be quietly doing an opening activity at the start of class
- YOU not the bell needs to excuse them at the end of the period
- YOU call on them, they do not shout out answers
So you decide on the two or three things that you are going to implement – you tell the students you are not happy with the current environment and that we are going to start following some new procedures. You then explain the new procedures, you explain your rationale and then you implement them. Now remember not to negotiate with the students or try to justify your decision, just tell them why and then move on. They do not have to agree, nor should you waste time trying to convince them. It is what is needed to improve the learning environment so they will have to follow the procedure. You must be consistent and follow through or it will not work. You may have to spend time practicing and/or repeat actions until it becomes a routine for them. It is harder to un-do bad habits so it may take a little longer than if you had started the first day, but don’t despair if your expectations are clear and you are consistent it will get better. Frankly the students will be happier too. They like consistency and knowing what is expected of them. After the new procedures become routine you can add others as needed. It is never too late so just establish the new procedures and follow through. I guarantee it will work because when you demand respect and give respect the learning environment improves exponentially.