Getting your classroom to manage itself can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be! With a little extra thought and planning on your part, you can have a class that functions nearly on their own without you even present. How great would it be to know your class will be well-behaved for a sub, when an administrator walks into the room, or even when you simply need to step into the hallway for a few extra moments?
How can this be done?
Procedures, Model, Practice, and More Practice!
Procedures may be the first and most important step to getting a classroom to manage itself! Creating a list of how you’d like things run in your classroom on a daily basis will ensure that you have complete control and that things will run smoothly if you are ever gone and a sub is taking over for the day!
Setting expectations for your classroom by laying out clear-cut procedures lays the framework for a classroom that can manage itself. The simplest of things – like how your students enter your room, to borrowing supplies, to putting away technology, to what happens when the bell rings – are procedures that should be put into place on day one.
After your procedures are introduced, the next step is to model how the procedures look. Modeling how to enter the classroom the correct way – and incorrect way – shows students what is acceptable and not appropriate. When the students can SEE what you are expecting, there is no confusion as to what is to happen while entering the room. Modeling how to borrow classroom items such as pencils, scissors, glue, etc allows for students to easily move about the room without disrupting the classroom while you are teaching!
Practice the Models
Practicing the modeled procedures takes some time but is worth the effort in the long run. By making the students practice how to enter the classroom, borrow classroom supplies, ask to use the restroom/get a drink, hand in assignments, and where to pick up makeup work, etc. leaves minimal management for the teacher to do as the year goes on.
Practice Until Perfect
It’s important for the students to practice these classroom techniques until they do it without any assistance. When the students enter the classroom, have them practice the correct way to do the tasks. Sometimes this takes several attempts. That’s ok! The old saying, “Practice makes perfect” is no joke!!
Consider Practicing “Wrong” Models
It’s also important to have them practice (or at least have one or two of them) demonstrate the INCORRECT way to complete the tasks. You can have students who are more prone to having difficulty completing tasks correctly model the incorrect way to do the tasks. This way you can ask them what is wrong about the way they did it. Identifying the incorrect behavior allows the student to think about the correct way of performing the tasks. This will aide in the assisting of getting the practicing of procedures done with the least amount of time needed!
Getting a classroom to manage itself may seem daunting at first, but it really can be done in the first few weeks of school. As you continue to reinforce the positive behaviors, routines, and procedures throughout the year – you’ll find that your classroom can practically manage itself in no time!