“We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character--that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate.”
Dr. Martin Luther King
We have previously discussed the role of classroom management in teacher effectiveness and job satisfaction. A lack of classroom management skills and training has been cited as a contributing factor in the high turnover rates for new teachers. It should not be a surprise that if you are struggling with controlling your classroom you are not making the kind of impact you would like as a teacher. As a teacher, your control of the classroom is essential. Learning does not thrive in a chaotic or undisciplined environment.
But classroom management is not just about controlling what goes on in the classroom. In fact, if that is your goal, I believe you have already failed. To me, I look at classroom management as a goal to achieve and the means to that goal is teaching students to manage themselves. In other words, I want to achieve classroom management by teaching my students to manage themselves.
I am writing this after completing the first week of the new school year. I have a classroom full of eager young students entering the 3rd grade and I have high expectations for them. However, I know that the quickest path to their academic success is for them to develop the character traits that will help them be successful in everything they do. That’s why I start the year with self-control exercises and teaching them about credibility, responsibility and work ethic. It is this character development that helps them learn to manage themselves and as a result my classroom is a safe learning environment where teaching can take place.