For about a year now, I have been practicing this method I call “First 2, Last 2” in my classes. This method pertains to relationship building for the first 2 minutes and the last 2 minutes of each class period. The first and last 2 minutes of each class, I intentionally set some time aside to connect with students. I feel that in this way, the class is more relaxed and easy to control.
As teachers,some of us prepare the materials that we will use that day before the class. This causes us to be busy in between periods. As the students enter, we scramble our things, we write stuff on the board, and so on. We barely notice the students coming inside the classroom.
After the bell rings, that’s just when we call their attention for attendance. After the roll call, we proceed to our lesson for the day–because we have limited time and we have so much yet to cover. This creates a disconnect between the teacher and the students as the year goes by, that has potential to alienate us from our students.
To combat this, I’ve been practicing “First 2, Last 2” as a relationship builder. As students enter the classroom, I make it a point to be ready with everything I need for that day so I could greet each and every one of them good morning. Most of them smile back, say good morning, yet there are still some students who completely ignore me. That’s ok. At least they can see that you’re always in a good mood before the class starts!
As soon as the bell stops ringing, is the “First 2”. I’m not really strict at imposing 2 minutes, sometimes it lasts longer. But of course, I have to control the connection. It cannot last longer than 5 mins, because I still need precious time for the lesson! Anyway, for the first 2 minutes, I talk to the whole class. Sometimes I single out a student like for example, when he or she has been gone a long time, I welcome him or her back. Sometimes I tell a short story about something interesting I saw on the Internet. Sometimes I mention something going on around the school like a school play or a sporting event, and encourage them to participate. Sometimes I ask about the latest movies and trends. I just say something that they can relate to, for them to see that I can also be their friend. But of course, there are still boundaries, and you have to set this. A good classroom manager can draw a fine line between friend and teacher.
For the “Last 2” or last 2 minutes of the class period, I make an effort not to give out last-minute instructions. I don’t really like parting ways with my students with shouting reminders on which pages to read. I like to end the class neat and relaxed. Instead of last minute reminders, I chat with them, joke around and laugh, and wish them a good day ahead. A good classroom manager can manage his or her time well.
Allocating the first 2 and last 2 minutes to your students pays off because the students feel respected, understood, and confident when their teacher notices them. They feel comfortable in class as they know that their teacher cares for them and what they do. This will result more toward positive social and learning behaviors.