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Coach Focus: How to Help Teachers Manage A Classroom

Teacher leaders can help teachers manage a classroom effectively and efficiently. As they partner together, they can pull back the curtain on an old myth- to be a good teacher, you must control your class.

Control is not the same as manage. To take it a step further, to manage a CLASSROOM is more effective than to manage student BEHAVIOR.

When teachers focus on what they can control (structuring the learning environment) rather than what they cannot control (someone’s behavior), they avoid frustration and loss of time on task for students. What a win-win!

How a Teacher Leader can Help a Teacher Manage a Classroom

This is the second post in the Coach Focus Series. (Catch up on the first post here.)  Also, a recent post for teachers entitled, Classroom Management: Moving Beyond Compliance, is a helpful read for teacher leaders to pass on to those that they support.

Managing a classroom has more to do with putting structure in place so students can successfully operate within those parameters. Teachers need to think through their expectations, routines, and habits. By being intentional and specific with every moment of instruction allows teachers to focus on operating the classroom rather than trying to control student behavior.

Classroom Management Support Process

The following process is designed for teacher leaders to best support teachers in how to successfully manage a classroom:

Pre-Observation

Stop by the teacher’s classroom at various times of the day to observe classroom instruction, student interaction, and overall classroom climate. Gathering a sample of snapshots provides a more reliable data set. This will create a baseline to begin supporting a teacher from how to manage behavior to how to manage a classroom. (Click here for an example.)

Debrief

Meet with the teacher 1:1 to discuss observation aha’s, findings, trends, etc. By laying data on the table, the teacher will be able to see their classroom from another perspective. This conversation is honest and hopeful. Being objective ensures the teacher feels motivated to make changes instead of defeated before they even begin. (Click here for an example.)

Teacher Reflection

Allow the teacher time alone to take the information you shared about your observation and create some goals for what they want to accomplish with their classroom management system and style. A few hours or days should be sufficient to reflect and goal set. (Click here for an example.)

Planning Meeting

Meet 1:1 with the teacher again to help them take their goals and turn them into reality. This meeting is mostly lead by the teacher who shares what they like and dislike about their current classroom management style.  Prompt with questions and make suggestions, but the ownership in on the teacher to decide the plan of attack. It is helpful to walk through a typical day and lesson from start to finish and note areas that require, or could benefit from, structure (ie. where to turn in homework, what level of voice to use during turn-talk, what route to take to transition in centers, etc.).

Misbehaviors are less likely to creep up when the environment is structured in a way for student learning success to occur. Click To Tweet

Follow Up Observation

Observe the teacher’s classroom management strategy after a few days of them implementing changes to reach their goals. This increases accountability that the teacher will actually put their ideas into motion. It also builds trust as you partner together to establish a strong classroom management approach.

Follow-Up Conversations

To ensure long-lasting change, continue to meet with teachers 1:1 on a consistent basis (ie. monthly, quarterly, etc.). Feedback, encouragement and additional planning will occur during these conversations. The follow-up is essential in tweaking the classroom management strategy so that it increases teacher proficiency and student achievement.

When teacher leaders support teachers in this way, classroom environments become breeding grounds for learning and success. This process empowers the teacher to envision the classroom they desire, create the change required, and be fully in charge of their own transformation. The mental and physical change that occurs because of this process is long-lasting, sure to impact generations of students.

When a teacher begins to manage a classroom instead of behavior, they open up the possibility for students to operate at their full potential. Teacher leaders have the opportunity to impact change school wide by implementing this process with those that they lead.

Teacher leaders, if you need further help supporting those you serve, grab a slot on my calendar to talk it through. Sometimes we need more than just tips; we need specific guidance in the unique situations we are facing. If that is you, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Go Be Great!

 

 

 

How do you help teachers better manage their classrooms?

 

About the author, Gretchen

I am an educator, passionate about cultivating talent in aspiring and new teachers through practical tips and strategies. My blog, book, and podcast are geared towards empowering teachers to enter the profession and stay there due to the advice and encouragement I provide. We have a real need in our nation for strong leaders in classrooms, and I believe its my calling and duty to coach teachers to achieve and maintain best teaching practices in order to drive the growth and success of our students in and outside the classroom.