During September, I focused on two clear and simple goals.
These two goals were posted on my desk, written on a scrap of paper, and taped on with some packaging tape that I’ve been using to hang up everything.
1. Use all 56 minutes of class (clear openings and closings)
2. Communicate clear expectations
These two areas of teaching are a struggle. Maybe you can relate.
We let students wander into class as the bell rings, as we check one more email, enter in one more grade, or finish up something from the class before. We wrap things up a few minutes early and accept it when those few students begin packing up during our closure. But those are creeping disintegrations of our classroom management, the stuff that just gets worse and worse until June.
We provide vague instructions, ramble on in front of our students because we are not exactly sure what we are saying. We know it, but we haven’t thought it through, haven’t figured out the clearest, most concise way to explain the assignment or display the directions on the interactive whiteboard. We talk too much, oh yes we do.
The two goals, as with most things I write about, were not a panacea for any ills. But they were a daily reminder to push myself and the students. Make the most of each of the class periods, because that is the duty of the teacher. And communicate clear expectations to the students, because when they know exactly what is expected of them, they are more likely to succeed.