It’s that time of year again when principals and teachers start thinking about the new school year, and how to improve classroom management. “This year will be different!” Is a common refrain.
As educators, we know that if only “certain” teachers would be more successful with management, it would make all of us more effective. Principals could spend more time as
educational leaders, and teachers would not have to spend the first two months of school correcting the behavior of the students that came from “that teacher’s class.”
Bringing in an expert on SEL, or classroom management, or building relationships, is great, but results in a temporary improvement.
Everyone is excited to try the new strategies. But, by the time September rolls around, the status quo has resumed. Teachers who could always manage their classes, are doing just that, and the teachers that struggle, are
struggling . . . again.
Why doesn’t it work?
It doesn’t it work because in order to change our habits in any area, we need both knowledge and real time coaching. In Marzano’s book, Managing the Inner World of Teaching, (2015), he discusses the need for habits to become mechanistic. “We could not function well if we thought deeply about performing such actions as tying our shoes, brushing our teeth, and so on. Mechanistic behavior serves us well during routine tasks. “ (p. 8)
In the classroom, 60% to 80% of the day is driven by habits. However, according to Marzano, it can lead us astray when teachers are habitually responding to situations that produce negative results. To change those habits requires more than a one day professional development; it requires careful planning, and coaching.
That is why teachers will try the new strategies for a few days or weeks, but then give up and resume whatever it was they were comfortable with before attending the training. It is not that they don’t care, they just need support changing their habits.
So what does this look like?
The system needs to include all of the school staff as everyone contributes to the success of a school. The office staff, the yard duties, custodians, cafeteria workers, librarians, and para educators all need the knowledge as well as the coaching in order to step up to the next level.
This year will be different if you have a plan in place that continues the professional development all year long. I can help you create the plan as well as provide the professional development that will transform your school. Book me soon, this time of year my calendar fills fast with limited spaces available.