My classroom has recently developed an echo. Microseconds after my classroom teacher begins to call out a student for misbehaving you can hear my voice start to say something pretty similar. It is kind of crazy how that happens.
My teacher has reminded me again and again, in the kindest possible way, that it is very important to have control over your classroom behavior. She has given me all of the tools necessary to do this in her classroom and has turned me loose with them. At first, I was a little shy in calling out students or raising my voice when she was around because I was nervous about stepping on her toes. This is her class and she knows way more than I do about how to manage it. She is constantly reminding me, as I said, to keep up with the discipline in the classroom. “You have to get them under your thumb and then you can be their friend.” She has said this countless times to me and I appreciate it every time because she is absolutely right (like usual)!
Recently, I have improved in this area ( I think). I have been focusing on being consistent and not backing away from students who I know will fight with me about getting into trouble. I read somewhere that the best way to handle students who argue with you about whether or not they were doing something wrong is to say, “I saw you (insert behavior here). You are not to be doing that. Go move your clip (or however your discipline plan works).” And then walk away. Leave them no time to argue with you. If they shout after me, I usually look over my shoulder and say, “go move your clip,” again and then go on. Obviously, with some students I have to fight with them over moving their clip and I haven’t yet figured that situation out but for most students this works pretty well.
Because I have been so focused on this aspect of teaching, I am noticing little improvements. Today though was the greatest. I had to video record myself teaching and when I watched the video I could hear my teacher (who was the one doing the recording) whisper to get students attention who were misbehaving only seconds before I called them out from the front of the room. Before that, my teacher and said the exact same thing to one student from different parts of the room at the exact same time.
I felt pretty good about this because it might mean I am actually improving a little. I am definitely seeing misbehaviors happen much faster than I was at the beginning of the semester. This week I cracked down a little because the week after spring break (which just started a few hours ago), I am going to be the teacher for the whole week because my classroom teacher is going on spring break with her family. I am going to be in charge of the whole class for a whole week and I have to have them under control.
I do not want my teacher to come back and hear horror stories from the classroom aide or other teachers because I cannot get my act together. I have to nail this. That week is really going to show me whether or not I have the stuffing I need to be great teacher. I really, really hope I do.