Why Poor Classroom Managment Is EVERYONE'S Problem

Lately, classroom management has been on my mind a lot. This isn't something I'm struggling with in my own class, my students are well behaved and this is tying for the best year in my career (last year was pretty darned awesome too). And yet, classroom management problems in other classrooms, are still impacting me.

It's a tough line to walk - allowing other teachers to have their own classroom management styles, to fight their own battles and make their own decisions while still trying to help them with behavior management. It's like correcting someone else's child in the grocery store - most teachers cringe away from stepping on another teacher's toes. Even my husband said to me the other day, "Why do you care what happens in that room?"

So I've broken it down into the  
 4 Reasons Why Poor Classroom Management
(even in one classroom)
Affects The Whole School:

1. It ties up resources like the counselor, principal, tutors etc. Everyone is flooding into that room to try to calm the storm. Meanwhile, when the rest of the staff have an issue or a question, they have to wait. Our students have to wait. That places an undue burden on the administration, but also on the other teachers who have to continue on without guidance or help on other matters.  

2. The class that misbehaves in the hallway, assemblies and cafeteria is setting a bad example for the rest of the kids. Students watch that class and wonder "Why can't I dance down the hallway?", "They're not getting in trouble for pushing in line, why do I?", "My teacher gave me "the look" when I whispered to a friend, but those kids are yelling!". This means they'll test limits and push back against rules to make sure that nothing has changed - it shakes their foundations and worries them. Children need the safety of rules and procedures, seeing other out-of-control classes threatens their faith that all is right within their school world.  

3. Teachers with good classroom management are often the ones that have to take in the misbehaving students when they're sent from their own classrooms or excluded from activities like field trips and recess (and don't even get me started on why it's NOT OKAY to take away recess!) Some administrators even load certain classes with behavior challenges because they know certain teachers can handle them better than others. Our classrooms are disrupted by these children who are crying out for attention, safety, acceptance, love and/or challenge in their own classrooms. I'm all for being a team player and pitching in to help out, but let's face it, when it's the same kids from the same class being sent to my room over and over....well, it's not the student who's the problem.  

4. Good kids, kids that I've taught, whose families I've come to know, enter those classrooms and change. It's frustrating and heartbreaking to watch a bright, well-behaved child turn into a terror because their classroom is so chaotic. OR, those good, sweet kids get shuffled into the corner and ignored because the behavior issues take precedence. They're not learning, and their future is imperiled, because nothing can get accomplished in that class. Obviously, classroom management then becomes an issue for ALL teachers and staff at a school. Whether it's my student, your student or a 5th grader from down the hall, each student at the school deserves a safe learning environment with consistent discipline, rewards and  consequences. We cannot ensure that EVERY CHILD has that, if we have a mind-our-own-business attitude about what is happening with another class due to classroom management issues. It is morally unacceptable to shake our heads, close the door and just teach OUR class.  

So then, what? What can we do?
1. Well, the first step is offering our assistance to the teacher who is struggling. Provide them with tips and strategies, a sounding board for ideas, even a shoulder to lean on when tough days are too much for them. ASK THEM the best ways to help.You may be surprised at what they need!

2. Don't let them give up! Insist that they keep trying, keep working on their own management style and trying different interventions with their students. Don't let them decide in November that this is as good as it gets and they're just going to have to suck it up until May! If you let them give up, you're letting down a whole classroom full of children.

3. Step in when necessary! Don't stand back and watch that teacher flounder and the students flout the rules and procedures. Let the students know that YOU will hold them accountable, even if their teacher isn't at that moment.

4. Lend your materials and ideas. Whether its the latest Ron Clark book, an article you saw online or a Pin about classroom management, share, share share! If you have extra manipulatives or items for small group time, lend those too. Often, behavior problems can be linked to boredom, so giving that  teacher some extra materials may help!

If we work as a team, helping those who are having issues, then not only can we serve our OWN students, but we're ensuring that EVERY child has a positive school experience - no matter who's class they land in!

What's YOUR best advice for helping someone struggling with classroom management?

3 Rustle Up A Response!:

Suzanne Carn-Allen said... Reply to comment

Great article, would love to share with my team/coach.

Melinda Goodwin _ Staff - OakGroveES said... Reply to comment

This is a great article and a great resource. I'm a great classroom manager however, the past two years have proven to be very difficult for me. I have wonderful kids and families but one child can change the atmosphere of the whole classroom. The last two years I've had a couple of very difficult students. So my classroom is the one that seems unable to walk down the hallway. We repeat the expectations daily, practice the expectations and are trying Conscious Discipline (this is a K-1 initiative) I think we asking Kinders to do things they simply aren't developmentally ready to do yet and that is affecting the classroom management. I hope to keep "tweaking" my classroom to find what works for this group of kids. Thanks for the article.

Margaret Johnson said... Reply to comment

I love #2 on ways to help. I once observed a colleague (at her request) to find ways to tweak what was happening. I was asked because she knew I would be constructive and non-judgemental. It was late in the year, and we met after school that day. Together we made a plan tovtwrak a few things and all out change a couple. She said having someone come in and see as things in action purely observation was very helpful. No overhaul needed. My team has often said that student teaching in kinder at the beginning of the year should be a requirement so they can see how the routines and such are established and taught.

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