The Project I Killed
Last year I lined up 31 maxims for effective classroom management which I intended (at whatever point I found a few spare months) to publish in several forms and at several price points, after which I planned to retire at age 25 to a small island off the coast of Malta which I’d also own. Then it was this year and I scrapped somewhere near half of them.
Classroom Management: A Working Definition
See, no aspect of my practice changes more from year to year than my ability to keep a class of 35 students who define “heterogeneity” in every way working hard for two hours out of two hours, irrespective of how much they actually care about math or school or even life, irrespective of their home lives, wasting no one’s time or talent, respecting every student every day.
Maybe nothing I’ve ever done has been harder.
Classroom Management: Anecdotally
It’s come up a lot recently. Every day over the last week, once per period, something came up. Several students simply became too familiar. Several more decided they lived outside our mutually established classroom norms.
But every time I pulled a student outside – isolating the behavior outside, refusing to engage the student inside – the result was an oddly affirming experience for both student and teacher, one which looked nothing like how these things used to go. One conversation began with a mutual appreciation of the cherry tree blooming outside our classroom and ended with a student-initiated handshake.
Unless my experience as a classroom manager is several deviations below the mean, other people are struggling with this as I have struggled. New teachers are struggling with this. So why is classroom management the farthest topic from anyone’s blog?
Is It Because:
- you’d rather talk about something flashier like tech integration or master scheduling?
- you teach in a predominantly white, mid- to upper-ses district where a threatened phone call home is all the muscle you need?
- you’ve worked at your school so long your legacy is all the muscle you need?
- you figured it out so long ago, committed these movements to muscle memory so long ago, you’re useful to your students but useless to a student teacher trying to put it all together?
The Project Now
I’m running a new scheme right now, something similar to my original project, something to compensate for this deficiency in teacher training but pitched a little closer at my particular skill set.
Before throwing myself into this headfirst, I guess I’m wondering if the market for classroom management tutorial is everywhere or nowhere.