Monday, August 18, 2008

Classroom Management

I was talking to a public school special education teacher yesterday. She is in year 2 as a teacher and is in a new classroom this year. She used to be a teacher's aid, so she has observed teachers for years and noted areas of general incompetency. We had a great conversation about all it takes to get a classroom ready for students and how to start the year off right. It brought back a lot of memories from when I was a Christian school principal and how hard it was for us to get our classrooms organized, decked out, and streamlined before the students ever arrived.

I have the benefit of knowing my students before the first day of school! I also live in the homeschool environment, so I can take all summer, if need be, to lesson plan (I don't) or organize last year's mess (I do) or decorate (not much) or pre-study (I do) or get inspired (I do! I do!).

School week 1 went fabulous. School week 2 was almost a complete bust.
Monday was productive.
Tuesday we were gone from 10:15 to 4:00. That cuts out a huge chunk of the day.
Wednesday we had therapists, drop-in visitors, plus getting to know a new baby.
Thursday we had more therapists, drop-in visitors, appointments, and new baby.
Friday we had a play date, activities, etc.

Part of managing a classroom is making sure that the work spaces for the students are organized and the processes are streamlined. A big part of classroom management is making sure the schedule works for everyone. Two weeks of school gives clear insight into what needs tweaking. So this morning I worked on the schedule.

A big factor in my schedule is that I am a crazy night owl. I think a lot of people go through this. No matter howe exhausted you are at 6pm, you get a second wind about 8 or 9PM and find yourself up until 2AM. Which makes it impossible to get up at 6AM to jog on the treadmill. My kids stay up reading. And I am thinking, "Why am I so notorious about getting up at 7? I have teenagers! Even public schools are starting at 9 cuz teens stay up late and need to sleep til 7:30 or 8!"

So the first adjustment: start my day at 7 with a workout and shower before everyone else gets up. Get girls up at 8. Get baby up at 8;30 for meds and bottle at 9. Follow the 9,1,5,9 schedule for him with a midnight bottle for extra hydration. Reformulate the schedule based on that. The reformulation comes in where I am working with the girls solely while baby is napping and when he is playing (playing spiderman and trying to injure himself, the girls do independent work). And then build the schedule off of that.


Melissa Ballard said...

We are in our 3rd week (I think) and we have already seen some issues. I know we need to tweak lot though as this is our first year of full curriculum. It has been really good so far though!!

Heather said...

You crack me up. This is week 3 for us, too. Today was better on the new schedule. It would have been even BETTER if I followed it. Cps is hounding me, doctor offices calling, and Michael and I seem to always have to discuss something urgently on IM. But it all got done...with flexibility.