Friday, January 20, 2012
My wife, Dianne, remembers her PE teacher, Mrs. Welch, for outstanding classroom management. Mrs. Welch managed the class very well yet simultaneously created an atmosphere that students enjoyed being in.
The rules were clear and stated at the beginning of the year. For example, if you chewed gum, you got 5 points taken off your grade.
The rules were enforced consistently and dispassionately. "I see Miss Stansbury has chosen to chew gum in class. Miss Stansbury, please throw that out." And Mrs. Welch would immediately mark 5 points off in her gradebook. There was no anger or shock at the brazen audacity of Miss Stansbury's gum chewing. Just an immediate application of the rule that everyone knew.
After the correction, Mrs. Welch moved on. The incident was over, there was no lingering after-effect of the transgression.
There's nothing really remarkable or shocking in any of this. Sources on classroom management consistently recommend these things (and more). But here's the point: it must be more than simply knowing the strategies. The strategies are available to all teachers but this particular teacher left a strong impression of a fine teacher creating an enjoyable atmosphere that has stayed with Dianne (the former Miss Stansbury) for decades (I am not at liberty to discuss how many decades.) Clearly this "common knowledge" was not commonly applied.
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