19 February 2010

Classroom Management, Week 1

We started a new class this week in MACI. Its hard to believe that we are already done with 1/4 of the program!

The new class, as evidenced by the title, is Classroom Management. According to some former MACI program graduates, this class was done online in the last program and it was terrible. I just talked to someone today and they told me the type of topics covered were "how to set up your classroom for effective learning" and "what to do if a student begins to throw a chair". Hmmm. Sounds like you should catch it! Anyway, the class is with a first rate secondary education director from Norman Public Schools.

In the class, I hope to learn a number of things:

  1. I’d like to learn how to deal with students more effectively in the halls and one-on-one when I teach something other than physics; specifically, students who are economically disadvantaged and have little or no parental involvement in education. This is my weak area because it is where I have the least experience. If you don't know, I teach physics, which are usually honors students. I don't really have to work very hard at classroom management. Its more about keeping them engaged and less about making sure they aren't causing trouble. Since I don't deal with lower grade level (and therefore less mature) students, when I do pick up a physical science class, I'm way off of my game when it comes to real, in-the-trenches classroom management. I need to have some more tools in my classroom management toolbox so when I run across a situation that I don't normally deal with, I'm prepared!

  2. Additionally, I’d like to develop and implement some sort of plan-of-attack for more active parental communication. I am not good at this aspect of education. It is too easy to not work on it when most of what I teach requires little to no communication with parents for continued student success. This, however, is extremely ineffective when I am teaching some class other than upper level science. It only takes a little bit of rationalization to dismiss this very important aspect of teaching. I am probably more concerned about this than any other issue or deficiency I have in classroom management because I am graduating a Pirate Time (advising) class full of Seniors this year. That means I am going to pick up a class of Freshmen for Pirate Time. This means I'll be meeting with Freshmen, every week, with little-to-no curriculum. That seems like a setup in which failure could be imminent if I'm not on my game.

I'd love to hear your ideas on what has worked for you in your classrooms when dealing with students who may not be "quite as polite" as my own two angels (my apologies to @JCismyname's computer apps teacher for his behavior Wednesday in class).

As with any other class in the program, I'm looking forward to it. It seems like I always end up trying to make a mini New Year's resolution by pledging to blog more every time I start a new class. I imagine I'll get bogged down in work and not do it as much as I want to. Okay. I can live with that.

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