It is only the beginning of our journey together as a book study team, but I cannot express how happy I am to have solid time set out of my hectic life to brainstorm, vent, and most importantly, learn from my colleagues. Our focus (beyond Lemov’s 62 teaching techniques) really is to connect what we do every day in the classroom to our building’s indicator–this term Respectful Culture. It is only fitting that we moved from the Introduction to Chapter 3 about setting and maintaining High Expectations. On page 90 Lemov really hits a homerun with his statement that “the goal is to build a “culture of better” in which being pushed by your teacher to go a little further is normalized–is as commonplace in the schoolroom as a pencil.” AMEN; however, stating this is so much easier than the battle of always enforcing it. Sadly, not every student enters our classroom with the internal drive to learn and leave with more knowledge than they entered with. Our job, as teachers, is to help foster learning habits and care/respect for everyone in the classroom.
I, personally, take great pride in my classroom management. Yeah, yeah, I have an Honors class this term; however, this isn’t always the case, and I have my share of struggles with Contemporary Literature and the absences of the “good kids” in Advanced Writing. No matter the class, though, I encourage respectful culture in my classroom by not accepting the beginning shenanigans of students at the start of the term when they are testing the waters to see what I will let slide. The answer is NOTHING…we are here to learn and grow. I state that from the beginning, and I model that by my own care and respect. I SHOW my students daily who I am by sharing in the learning process; I show my own examples or I share tales about students in the past who took an assignment further than expected. What this does is that it shows students that I’m not just following the curriculum but that I see the importance and try it out too. I want students to trust me.
Trust–now that is one of the most powerful tools in the classroom. If students trust you, they will do work for you. Also, as Friday proved to me, they will come to you when something is wrong. They look to you as someone who always does right or who knows what to do. Well, Friday I had my students inform me of a situation that is very wrong and very possibly dangerous that was occurring in the restroom. The moment they told me, I literally felt all 24 sets of eyes on me…waiting to see my reaction…and what I was going to DO. To be honest, I looked up at that classroom clock and saw that there were only 15 minutes left of adult-teacherhood; I could ignore this situation or I could take action. Well, with those eyes on me, I knew that I had to grab my Superwoman cape and see that justice was served. With heart-pounding, I flew out of the classroom, assessed the situation, did the right thing, and saw that the situation was resolved. When I came back into the classroom (with only 3 minutes left), I began speaking rapidly to close out the day and apologize for not having time for our remaining presentation. However, I was met with protest– “Mrs. Staber, we did the final presentation.” “Yeah, E—— got up and did her movie.” “Ha, yeah, and K—- even asked her the questions you always ask at the end.”
What the????? My jaw fell open, but then I recovered with my usual smile. Wow, my students respected me and knew I was busy “taking care of business,” but they knew I would want class to go on. They felt badly for poor E—–; she was nervous and wanted to present.
So, with my long-winded rambles here, I feel like what occurred in my classroom can happen anywhere; students look to us for guidance, and we must never ever forget that their eyes are always watching.