As I prepare for my first year of teaching, many things come to mind when it comes to creating a management plan. Looking at things like writing lesson plans, writing a class syllabus, designing a classroom layout, management philosophies such as behaviorism and assertive discipline, and using direct instruction as a teaching technique, I have a ranking for the importance for each one of these components in my overall management plan. It is books like “Teaching With Love and Logic: Taking Control of the Classroom” by Jim Fay and David Funk, “Classroom Management that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Every Teacher” by Robert J. Marzano, “The art and Science of Teaching: A Comprehensive Framework for Effective Instruction” by Robert J. Marzano, and “High Impact Instruction” by Jim Knight, that have helped me create this hierarchy.
The thing that automatically jumped into first place for me was my management philosophies. It is the teacher that is the thing that changes the atmosphere of a classroom most. Many would like to blame it on misbehaving students, but if the teacher has good managing skills interruptions can be avoided or squelched early. The best kind of teacher is one that can work well with the needs of students but also maintain strong guidance. In his classroom management book, Marzano describes these characteristics as dominance, which is strong guidance and clarity of purpose, and cooperation, which is concern for needs of others. It is important to be a teacher that is cooperative with students but also someone to take charge. Marzano mentions that if either one of these characteristics are to the extreme, they will be receive with opposition from students. If students are able to feel like you are both comfortable and have things under control, the classroom will run more smoothly. In addition to being a good teaching figure for students, I also want to implement a confronting-contracting style of consequences. “Confronting-contracting style is characterized by direct attention to disciplinary problems but not in an inflexible way. Along with executing negative consequences for inappropriate behavior, the teacher demonstrates a concern for student’s needs and preferences (Marzano, 2003).” The other kind of consequences suggested by Marzano were rules/rewards-punishment and relationship-listening. If I am to really be a balanced dominance and cooperative teacher, neither of these will fit my teaching style. With rules/rewards there are either positive or negative consequences depending on behavior. I believe that rules should always be flexible and applied in ways that are constructive despite being a consequence. With relationship-listening, there is attending concerns of the student rather than consequences for their actions. I do believe that some kind of action should be necessary for inappropriate behavior, and if I were to simply listen to concerns nothing would ever be completely resolved.
The next items on the list are writing the class syllabus and lesson plan. I put writing the class syllabus in second place because students need to know the expectations of the class. Since I am in secondary education, I want to make sure that students will know what to expect from my class. I will have procedures for turning in assignments, expectations of how students will behave, how I will grade them, a list of their assignments with due dates, and many other important aspects of my teaching. Lesson plans are also important but I think they are mostly for the teachers benefit. Creating lesson plans will help organize that day and make you seem more professional.
The last two concepts, direct teaching and classroom layout, are least important to me because of my specialty area. As a visual arts teacher, I rarely will be lecturing my students. I want to push for authentic learning through visual examples and experimenting. With clay especially, I want to give my students the foundation for creating something but then let them create things that are unique to them. The classroom layout is also least important to me because I do not have much say in how the classroom layout will be. The tables are giant squares with wood surfaces and locker bases. My classroom for interning has six of these tables and they are fairly heavy. In addition to these tables, there also are several ceramic wheels which take up space. Because of the need for electrical outlets, these cannot be moved. Despite my inability to move around seating, I know that I will be an excellent teacher.
Marzano, R. J. (2003). Classroom management that works: Research-based strategies for every teacher. Alexandria: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.