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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

How prepared were you to manage students by your degree program?

How prepared were you to manage students by your degree program?

Related Tags: Classroom Management
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47 Replies 994 Views
I'm doing research about how poorly most teachers were educated about classroom management by their college/university education programs. I'd love to hear from you. Did you actually have a class that addressed managing students? I give a workshop for new teachers, and I would like to use some comments from you all.

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Shari Sjogren's picture

I'm willing to guess that your degree set you off on a good start with classroom management before you started teaching. One thing you may have found helpful was watching other beginning teachers try to pull off lessons for the class with varying degrees of success. But it was a topic that didn't really ever get revisited. In fact, you and your peers probably did your own researching on the topic to make up for that, like maybe http://www.honorlevel.com/x41.xml and such.

c's picture

I teach in another country and I am amused to see the issues are the same wherever you teach. My country provides in-service teacher training to people who have been teaching for a number of years without certification. When you start to teach more senior teachers work with you(hopefully)to show you the basics and then you apply for training. In our class management seminar, we had the opportunity to say to our tutor, "Get Real!" because we had been teaching for sometime and had some idea of what worked. However, I did gain a lot of theoretical knowledge that made me reflect on my practice. I would have preferred in the seminar, less lecturing and more of a case study approach. I would have liked to see the teachers use these techniques in one class and use a reflective journal to diagnose and solve problems that arose.

Carol Parker's picture
Carol Parker
7/8 Drama, Film, Honors & Regular Language Arts

WOW, Amazing. I have been teaching 30 years. Society has changed. TV is where children learn social skills and their parents, for the most part, will not support YOU!! NO EDUCATION CLASS WILL EVER PREPARE YOU FOR CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT!!!

The best course you can take is TIME and experience. For one, my classroom is not a democracy. I am strict but fair. There are way too many children in grade 7/8 classrooms, to not be strict. They NEED us to be in control. In many of their homes there is NO CONTROL!!! They are welcome but my class is MY HOME, and in my home they are expected to be polite and KIND to one another. THEY GET IT. But, they test the waters. Not all of them. Most of them are really great.

I teach manners. Boys wait for the girls to walk in first. Girls say "thank you." Boys say "You're Welcome." The tone is set the first MINUTE!! They come with their supply's. The back packs are put against the wall with the cell phones INSIDE. NO foooling around. NO CHANCE, NO WAY.....You walk in silently. You pull out the book YOU read while I take attendance. Notes are ready to take. NO TALKING!!

Work, School FIRST!!!

In my experience there are some principals who will come in the classroom and back you up and take out the disruptive children and take them into the office and call the parents to come fast and discuss the inappropriate behavior. Then, there are principals who will tell you to take care of your own class yourself. You will learn to call the parent to come and sit with their own child, because you know that THEY raised a very polite child.

Eventually, you will figure it all out.

Just be sure to get all the phone numbers of all your children to take home. You will be busy phoning evenings and weekends. Keep a notebook to back up parent contacts. You will always need evidence. That is what principals will always want to know as part of your classroom management.

And, always remember, they are children. some are loved and others are not. You may be the only one who does love them. And, your love will last a lifetime. Tough love is very real.

Basically, they will be engaged in whatever you teach because you are HUMAN CONTACT and YOU CARE> giving them credit is very important. Laugh often and love much. I followed that advice years ago and it has worked.....although difficult at times, I admit.


Donna's picture

As a 32 year veteran, about to retire, this topic has been a hit-or-miss area of challenge for me. My grad and undergrad programs together, at two different universities in two different states, provided an estimated 3 hours on classroom management. I did go back and take the Assertive Discipline course with Lee Canter, and it worked well for me while it was fresh. The two things I lacked were a mentor and follow-up; I also feel that group support would have been invaluable to me as well. I found that there were many teachers who either did not share their issues or apparently found what worked for them and developed a reputation. In general, I found that a lot of my more successful colleagues were often hard-pressed to explain how it worked for them.

Meharina's picture

I remember asking my lecturer during my education degree many times, how best to manage a classroom. What were his golden rules? His reply was always, each teacher has to come up with their own method of management. And basically, if your lesson and teaching is engaging enough, you should have no problems! Yes that would work in an ideal situation with perfectly behaved students. Reality is quite the opposite. Management strategies I utilise I learnt from the teachers I did my placements with. Then later, from observing other colleagues. I think this is a serious issue which needs to be addressed in college programs. Specially because, it doesn't matter how talented you are as a teacher, if you can't get the kids to sit down and pay attention.

Mrs. W's picture
Mrs. W
5-8 Language Arts and History Teacher

In undergrad and graduate coursework we never had a class devoted to classroom management. It was incorparated into other classes, but I never felt I was exposed to enough. Undergrad we were introduced to Lee Canter's Assertive Discapline and Harry Wong's books.

It's hard to learn classroom management without experiencing it. That is the problem in education programs is until you are in a classroom and use the strategies you can't get a full grasp on them.

Student teaching is when everything comes into practice, but unless you have had experience in classrooms before this experience and have the oportunity to observe others and create your own plan you will not get a full effect of using it in your own classroom.

For me I learned most of what I know about classroom management by experience from subbing seeing how other rooms were set up, and observing other teachers and classrooms. More focus needs to help first year teachers discover classroom managememt.

Huguette Vetiac's picture


I graduated from one of the top teaching schools in Boston. Yet, when I got my first official teaching assignment, I felt I knw nothing. I was willing to work at and I know with time I would get better. Unfortunately, three months into my teaching assignment, my principal demoted me, took my classroom away and had me take the position of a building substitute teacher.

I cried everyday going to work and everyday leaving after this happened. It was a truely painful experience. What made matters worst, is that my principal never even came into the classroom to evaluate me. Nor did she try to invervene and work with me. I was evern told by the vice principal that his "hands were tied" and that he could not help me because the principal would frown upon it.

What kind of a principal does this? Needless to say, I was so disgusted after that experience, I dared not set foot in another classroom again.

Here it is five years later, and I realize now that I am a stronger person today than I was back then and I am willing to give teaching antoher try. I refuse to continue to let that principal dictate what I can or can not do. I have a genuine passion and gift for helping people and I intend to use it.

Betty Ray's picture
Betty Ray
Director of Programming and Innovation @Edutopia

[quote] I realize now that I am a stronger person today than I was back then and I am willing to give teaching antoher try. I refuse to continue to let that principal dictate what I can or can not do. I have a genuine passion and gift for helping people and I intend to use it.[/quote]

Yay!! Your post made me smile. You obviously have a wonderful gift for teaching. Keep us posted!

Heather Ash's picture

I attended a highly selective, accelerated program to certify second-career teachers. We had a full year's "survey" course that was supposed to be devoted to all those classroom issues that wouldn't be addressed in the subject-matter methods courses. The instructors (who also created the program) focused primarily on the issues of education inequity, and only addressed classroom management -- for two hours -- when we complained we weren't getting any information about it. It's not as if the college didn't offer it in its regular education courses... I borrowed a friend's syllabus from her class so that I could teach myself. All classroom management techniques I have learned came from the years of substitute teaching before I was certified, and my own reading.

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