How To Create An Independent, Motivated, And Mature Class

How To Create An Independent, Motivated, And Mature Class

Smart Classroom Management: How To Create An Independent, Motivated, And Mature ClassWhen teachers first implement an effective classroom management plan . . .

  • By teaching and modeling it in detail.
  • By following it exactly as it’s written.
  • By being consistent day after day.

. . . they’re often shocked by how peaceful their classroom becomes.

The respect, the contentment, the quietude. The smiles, the thank yous, the calm energy.

It’s like having a whole new class.

But there is danger lurking.

You see, at the first sign of peace, it’s all too common to start believing the lie that you’re not doing enough.

The silence of independent work, in particular, has a way of making teachers uncomfortable and raring to help out.

So, without considering the impact, they burst through the sacred cocoon of concentrated work and begin micromanaging students.

They interrupt to offer hints, suggestions, and advice. They rush over and kneel down in response to every look mild frustration and every hand raised.

They assist and handhold and coddle, all the while undermining a critical part of the learning process and removing what students crave—and need—most:

Freedom and responsibility.

The students, in turn, begin believing that they really do need your help for every little this and that. Hands go up all over the room and they quickly lose confidence in their ability to listen, learn, and do for themselves (learned helplessness).

This causes boredom, irritability, low motivation, and the desire for you to personally reteach individually what you taught the entire class just minutes before.

And although a faithfully followed classroom management plan will still keep a lid on things, their dissatisfaction will manifest itself in sneaky, off-task, and behind-the-back misbehavior.

Work-habit expectations should be spelled out for your students, without a doubt, as well as the tools they need to do the work successfully.

But once these are established, you must cut your students loose. Really cut them loose. Send the message that independent work, whether individual or in groups, is truly independent.

Be reluctant to rush over to provide what they can work through all on their own. Allow them to make many of their own choices and decisions and wrestle with whatever you place before them.

Give them the space they need to take ownership of their work, and their imagination, their energy and passion, and their intrinsic motivation will kick into high gear.

Teach interesting and inspiring lessons. Provide everything they need to succeed. Check thoroughly for understanding and allow for every question. Teach them well.

But then get out of their way.

Shift 100% of the responsibility for doing the work over to your class while you fade into a corner to observe and take in the big picture.

Work on devoting more and more of the school day to independent work, projects, creative endeavors, etc. and less of the day to directed teaching.

Directed teaching is still important, mind you. In fact, it’s critical that you become an expert in delivering lessons. But you must continually push the envelope on what your students can do for themselves.

This is learning. This is how they develop and thrive and become empowered to chart their own course. This is what prepares them for success in a rapidly changing world.

Take more of you out of the picture, and you’ll discover your students becoming staggeringly more mature, independent, and responsible.

Their motivation, focus, and on-task behavior will increase tenfold, and they’ll become persistent, self-directed problem solvers—even, and especially, the most challenging among them.

Your classroom management plan will still be there, obscured in the mist and watching over your students, but they’ll hardly notice it anymore.

Because the joy of learning will take center stage.

PS – There is a lot to this topic, which we’ll continue to unpack in the coming months.

In the meantime, for more on this game-changing approach to teaching and learning, including how to teach lessons your students will love, please check out The Happy Teacher Habits.

Also, if you haven’t done so already, please join us. It’s free! Click here and begin receiving new-article updates in your email box every week.

How To Stay The Course With A Tough Class

How To Stay The Course With A Tough Class

Smart Classroom Management: How To Stay The Course With A Tough ClassThe tougher the class, the easier it is to be inconsistent.The easier it is to give in and lose control.

Which is why when you have a challenging group of students you must be mentally tough.

You must be, as Winston Churchill once said, “a peg, hammered into the frozen ground, immovable.”

But how?

How do you stay the course day after day?

How do you stay strong when your students are trying to get under your skin?

How do you enforce a consequence when it’s the last thing in the world you feel like doing?

Well, nobody does it naturally.

Everyone feels resistance. Everyone at times feels a seemingly irresistible pull to cave in, back down, and look the other way.

It can also be difficult to be “on” in every moment. Maybe you’re not feeling well. Maybe it’s Friday afternoon and you’re just so ready to call it a day.

Maybe things are finally going well and you think, “Why not just let it go this one time? What’s the harm?” 

Whatever the reason, failing to follow through on your promises is always a mistake.

Which is why you need something you can lean on, an attitude or frame of mind that stays with you and sustains you through your weakest moments.

What follows are three key thoughts that will give you the mental toughness you need to stay the course, no matter how challenging your class.

1. Do it for them.

The most effective teachers have an overabundance of mama/papa bear in them that says, “It’s my job to protect my students’ right to learn and enjoy school, and come what may, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

There is no one else to safeguard your students from disruption, bullying, being made fun of, and the like but you.

Their school year, their future, and their parent’s hopes and dreams for them are at stake. For one year, anyway, they’re entirely in your hands.

When you embrace this responsibility (and reality), it makes following through and doing right by your students so much easier. In fact, it makes it the most natural thing in the world.

2. Be willing to lose your job.

There is great strength in committing to a task, not merely in a sense that it’s something you’re determined to do, but rather something you invest in so completely that you allow yourself no other choice.

You will do it.

A powerful way to embody this feeling is to adopt the attitude that they—administration, powers that be, educational establishment, etc.—will have to fire you and drag you from the classroom to stop you from fulfilling your promises to your students.

It represents a level of commitment that will effectively repel all forms of resistance, no matter how strong.

Ironically, with this mindset, not only will you never lose your job, but you’ll be admired by your colleagues, beloved by your students, and left alone by your principal.

3. Accept that it’s the only way.

When your class is out of control and the students seem so disrespectful, callous, and unmotivated, what you’re seeing isn’t who they really are.

Poor leadership, ineffective strategies, and inconsistency in the past have created what you’re seeing.

The only way to fix it, the only way to sweep away the negativity and reveal the very best in your students—as well as in yourself—is to bring fair, honest, and consistent accountability into the picture.

Accepting that it’s the only way to peace, the only way to inspired teaching and learning, and the only way to the stress-free career you really want is all the motivation you need to stay the course.

The Way It’s Going To Be

Several years ago, there was a rumor that the President was coming by the school I was working at for a visit. (He never did.)

Honestly, the first thing that came to my mind was, ‘Well, if he comes into my room, he’ll have to follow the rules just like everyone else.”

I laugh at the thought, but it underscores the level of commitment needed to follow through on your promise to create a safe and enjoyable learning experience for your students.

Even if you don’t teach in an especially difficult school, or you’re not in the midst of trying to turn around an out-of-control class, cultivating a tough mindset is still incredibly valuable.

In fact, in time it will become not just an attitude or mentality you carry with you to school every day.

But who you are.

If you haven’t done so already, please join us. It’s free! Click here and begin receiving new-article updates in your email box every week.

Just For Us

Just For Us
There is never a time that we can say that we don’t need Hashem. Besides for the life that He is constantly pumping into us, He is providing for our every need, every second of the day. We have so many needs. Just when one gets taken care of, we’re already on to thinking about the next one.
A woman told me she was going through a very difficult time and took upon herself to learn more Emunah. Baruch Hashem, shortly afterwards, she was introduced to the boy that she recently became engaged to. She was so grateful to Hashem for this Yeshua. Finally, after seeing the answer to her prayers,however, she was right back to praying heartfelt Tefilot for her next need, financial assistance. But this time, after she had already strengthened her Emunah, she had a calm feeling, recognizing that the finances are out of her control and totally in the hands of Hashem.
One of her major expenses was purchasing a wig. She, like other brides, really wanted two of them, one for every day and one for Shabbat and special occasions. But she had just enough money to buy one. That didn’t stop her from asking her Father in Heaven to provide two for her. She prayed for what she wanted and two weeks ago, she got a phone call from the lady she is buying the wig from who told her that someone just anonymously gave money to buy a wig for a new bride and she’s offering it to her. She said she was taken aback. This was a clear manifestation of Hashem answering her prayers and giving her exactly what she wanted. “Why did she offer it to me?” she thought, “I know there are other brides that she is servicing now as well. How did it come exactly with enough time to be ready for my wedding?” It’s מאת ה-From Hashem-just for me. Hashem helped her, and Hashem can help everyone. The more we realize it, the quicker we’ll ask for His help.
 I read a story about a man from Ela’ad in Israel who’s a Ba’al Teshuva and now a big Talmid Chacham. He said that in 2001 when he started becoming observant, he was doing a lot of business in China. Most of his business dealings with the people there were done over meals. He used to eat non-kosher meat in their restaurants, רחמנא ליצלן, until he slowly began improving. First he stopped eating the meat and told his clients that he became a vegetarian. This went on for a while until he decided to become completely kosher. He knew it would be very insulting to them if he didn’t eat with them, and he didn’t know what to do.
He had the biggest meeting of his life coming up, and it was going to be in one of their restaurants. He wasn’t courageous enough yet to tell them that he couldn’t come. But he was courageous enough not to eat. And he prayed and asked Hashem for help in that situation. The day came, and he was at the restaurant with twenty-five other executives, and they were ordering various dishes for the table. In the middle of the meal someone noticed that he wasn’t eating, and they said in a loud voice, “What’s wrong? Our food is not good enough for you?” He whispered a prayer to Hashem, asking him to put the right words in his mouth, when all of a sudden the wealthiest, most influential executive there got up and said, “Don’t you know he’s a religious Jew? He doesn’t eat this food! We should be thanking him that he even agreed to sit here with us.” With that, everyone was silenced and the meeting progressed and was a success. The man said afterwards, “I have no idea how he knew I was religious. I never showed it, I didn’t look it. It was like Hashem put the words in his mouth to save me.”
Hashem could always help us in any situation. When we recognize how much we need Him, we’ll constantly have words of prayer on our lips, and B’ezrat Hashem, we’ll see with our own eyes His loving hand in our lives.

A Mysterious But Powerful Way To Improve Listening

by  on October 21, 2017 1

Smart Classroom Management: A Mysterious But Powerful Way To Improve ListeningWe’ve covered the topic of speaking so students will listen extensively here at SCM.We’ve talked about the importance of not repeating yourself.

We’ve talked about volume and pacing.

We’ve talked about timing, pausing, brevity, clarity, and eye contact.

But what we have yet to cover is perhaps the single most important key to improving listening.

It’s a strategy that isn’t as straightforward as those mentioned above.

In fact, why it works so well is a bit of a mystery. Because, you see, it’s not about what you do. It’s about what you believe.

So what is it?

It’s conviction.

It’s the feeling or belief behind your words. When you speak with conviction, it sends a signal along an alternative wavelength, reaching students just as strong as when it left your mouth.

It lets them know that what you say matters, that it’s important and worth listening to. It’s something they can feel and sense in their bones.

So where does this level of conviction come from?

Well, it doesn’t come from trying to convince yourself you really mean it. It doesn’t come from false confidence, deepening your voice, or pretending you’re serious this time.

It comes from doing what you say you’re going to do. It comes from your consistencyand follow through.

It comes from an almost obsessive desire to show your students, prove to them, that you can be counted on every hour of every day.

When you say something, your students have to know they can take it to the bank.

For every time you go back on your word or let misbehavior go without the consequence you promised, you weaken your influence and lose trust in the eyes of your students.

You also lose it in your own eyes.

To speak with the weightiness needed to get even students you’ve just met to listen to you, you must have a near fanatical commitment to following through.

There is an unmistakable aura that accompanies teachers with authentic conviction, a distinct vibration of speech that is borne of the perfect symmetry between words and actions.

Do what you say and when you say you’re going to do it, and you’ll speak with a mysterious power that can move mountains.

That causes students to lean in, lock their eyes on you . . .

And listen.

If you haven’t done so already, please join us. It’s free! Click here and begin receiving new-article updates in your email box every week.