All too often at this time of year, between spring break and the end of the year, with the temperature warming up and students getting antsy to have summer break, classroom expectations and norms go out the window. Often, teachers tend to ignore problematic behavior, hoping that the student(s) acting out are just “having a bad day” and that hopefully the next day they’ll be better. However, often times, these students acting out are the ones who need extra attention and help in completing their assignments. It is important to remember that we sometimes have to hone our list of norms mid-year or at the end of the year. When students decide on their norms and consequences, we are able to hold them to class expectations. Keep these norms, which are written for each class, on a flipchart on or by the white board. As students return from break, or as they get ready for standardized testing, revisit the norms. Ask if there are any new ones we can add or tweak the old ones. If you teach elementary school, it is a good idea to have norms for circumstances such as how to conduct oneself when there is a sub, how to conduct table group discussions, and how to use ILT (individualized learning time) productively.
Having and maintaing these norms will be a “life saver” for you this time of year. Not only will you get more done during class, you will maintain a positive attitude during the day and go home in a good mood, instead of being frustrated.
Have a good time teaching your spring curriculum and go get ’em! Hang in there, and remember, I am here for advice and resources!