Friday, April 18, 2014

Reaching Out: Thinking about Relationships and Classroom Management

So sorry for the radio silence here, are you all still with me? I love the Slice of Life month, but I tend to be tired of daily writing and publishing after thirty-one days straight. I’m sure there is some lesson there for my students. J

Also, we have a little guy turning nine in my home today. Our last two weeks have been filled with celebrations and parties – including one hosted here tomorrow.

And sadly, our beautiful dog, Bally, left us after almost fourteen years last Saturday. It has been harder on me than I expected. This is all to say, I haven’t written, but this blog has been on my mind.

If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know I am contemplating writing a book for teachers. I’ve started and stopped more drafts than I want to admit. I’ve known for some time that I want to write about the importance of relationships, but I’ve been searching for a frame. I think I might have found it.

Each year I go to the University of Illinois to speak to a group of student teachers. This year I was told that they were struggling with classroom management and was asked to speak to that. I laughed. This seems to come up a lot, and I’m asked to speak about how I manage a classroom often, but I abhor the term “classroom management.” I have no rules posted in my room, no management system. There are days that my students are so chatty that I feel like I’m losing my mind. There are days that I struggle with the concept myself. That being said, if you took every evaluation I’ve had since I began teaching until now, the area of classroom management always has the highest marks. My former principal wrote once that my students are always focused, on task, and seem relaxed without a strict system in place. Thinking of these new teachers I was preparing to talk to, I realized there was only one reason my classroom ever seems that way – and it is the one thing I’m interested in writing about – relationships.

As I spoke to these students I realized that maybe this was the book I needed to write – classroom management in the workshop classroom. My room is seldom quiet – and I think that is the old concept – that a quiet room is a well-behaved room. I do think I have some ideas about what I would include in a book like this – if there is ever one that I acutally get written. (I have a lot of big ideas at times!) But I wanted to reach out to you. What are you looking for in a book like this? Or, what would you have liked to read when you were starting out? What struggles do you still have with classroom management? How do you think classroom management has changed over the years?

I’d love to hear anything you want to share with me! If you want to leave a note in the comments, that would be awesome. If you want help with a scenario or have a longer comment – feel free to email me. The icon at the top right of this page will take you to my email.

Thanks so much for helping me brainstorm! Please share this post if you get a chance. I’d love to hear from as many teachers as possible.

Have a fabulous weekend!