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It’s easy to assume that teaching revolves around knowledge of material, patience, and a love for kids. These things are all wonderful attributes in a teacher, but a good teacher is one who can effectively manage students in a positive learning environment despite resource availability. Classroom management is key, without it, successful academic learning is constantly interrupted by distractions, boredom, and reactive discipline.
The top two behavioral expectations that I hold with the highest importance are kindness/respect and responsibility. Within my future classroom, respect means using kind words, waiting your turn, and wearing listening ears. Responsibility means following directions, having self-control, and staying on task. A classroom without kindness lacks community. Building relationships between myself, the students, and their peers, is crucial. I expect students to be respectful to myself and to others as they should expect me to be respectful to them. The significance of responsibility comes into play during independent activities. A responsible student cares about their work and makes an effort to succeed. They are also accountable for their actions and will be more self-aware, thinking before doing, stopping before exacerbating. Respect and responsibility go hand in hand. A respectful and kind student might see a friend at their table with a blank worksheet and ask them what’s wrong or if they don’t understand the assignment. This student is reminding the other of their responsibility in a positive way without condemning them and without needing teacher involvement. Children are capable of wonderful things when given the right tools.
Discussing the perfect classroom is easy on paper, but implementing rules and expectations to create that perfect classroom can be challenging. The two biggest obstacles in reference to respect and responsibility will be unexpected circumstances within students’ personal lives and students with social disabilities or shy personalities. These are arduous but ever present complications. Every day will not be smooth sailing, but there are preventions and interventions that can be carried out to counteract these obstacles and promote kindness and self-control.
It’s difficult to know what goes on after the bell rings and the class lines up for the bus or what happened before they marched into the room that morning. Some children have a very strenuous home life from parents arguing through the night to more serious cases like child abuse. One day, I might say “Good Morning!” as a student enters class late, stomping and rolling their eyes. Later during independent work, I pull them aside and ask if they are feeling okay today. Within my current classroom I’ve experienced every response from silence, head-shaking, to an actual explanation. The student needs to know I’m there if they need to talk and that I care about them. Bad days are distracting, but they are not an excuse to avoid work or use hurtful words to others. The best strategy is a combination of empathy and authority. Other children have social disabilities like autism, Asperger’s, or Tourette’s. To avoid isolation or separation it is vital to make the class aware of these disabilities and help them understand their differences in a way that does not encourage social segregation. TV shows like Sesame Street have excellent videos available on autism and Asperger’s that are catered to a younger audience. To pull a shy student out of their shell, community activities like morning meeting and group games/tasks for academic learning can be beneficial. Every new class will be different because every child is different and new obstacles will arise. It’s vital to stay flexible and be prepared to modify any and all ideas.
Teaching is my passion and developing a positive community within my future classroom is very important to me. Pushing students to reach their highest potential in academics can’t happen unless they are excited to learn and know someone believes they are capable. To me, respect and responsibility are the foundation of a happy and welcoming classroom. Laying the groundwork could be a challenge but by setting an example through my language, my relationships, and providing the tools with which to do good, children can do amazing things.
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