Category: Other Posts (page 1 of 2)

Classroom Management For Pre-K: Creating A Stress-Free Space

One of the common misconceptions out there is adults think and believe that young children cannot follow procedures.  Especially in the classroom, young children see their teacher as the leader. This is if their teacher establishes him or herself that he or she is the leader of the classroom. Once he or she gets the children’s respect, believe me, they will happily follow everything that they tell them to do.

I am currently teaching pre-K right now. That’s 2.6 – 3.5 year olds. Whenever I tell people that I’m teaching kids that young, first thing that comes to their minds are That must be a jungle!” People always assume that since they are so young, they can’t understand instructions. But they do. They do if you teach them how to do things properly. Children crave structure.  They do if you’re consistent with what your teaching and the “consequences” if they don’t follow. Little kids can be taught to follow procedures. And once they know these procedures,  your classroom is going to be a stress-free space.

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The strategy for children to follow procedures is the same for any level. What differs for each level is the time frame of children learning the procedures in school. Like for example, pre-k will take some patience and time for them to grasp a system, while high school understands that there is a system that should be followed right on the first day of school.

  • Establish a routine right on the first week of school

Right when they enter the classroom, greet them a good morning and ask them to put their bags in their cubbyholes or in the bags corner. Before recess, have them line up to go to the nearest sink to wash hands. Children will surely recognize and understand that these simple steps are to be done everyday at a specific sequence.

  • Have a daily schedule

Having a daily schedule is a must in every classroom. Children are more comfortable knowing what’s going to happen next. They like to expect. They want to be assured that after this, this, and this happen, they will be fetched by their parents or they will now ride the bus home. The children gets assurance, and they will be more likely to trust the teacher more.

  • Consistency is key

Being consistent with the routines, daily schedules, and also the consequences for misbehavior definitely yield positive results. Familiarity, trust, and respect are formed between the teacher and the students. Once these are built and intact, you will see the difference of the behavior of your students from the first day of class because now they know what to do and what to expect. They can now do things and calm down on their own, and listen and follow your directions.

Creating a stress-free space in the classroom is not impossible even when you’re managing a classroom of 2-3 year olds. It just takes time and patience through being consistent.

 

Classroom Management: Special Needs Students

Children with special needs don’t fall in just a general category of simply “Children with special needs”. There are different kinds of disabilities under the umbrella of “special needs”. There is the autism spectrum, speech and language delays, ADHD, severe behaviour issues, and physical and developmental handicaps. But managing a special education classroom and the array of special needs in the classroom, doesn’t have to be hard and stressful. There’s a secret to successfully creating a stress-free and top notch educational classroom for children with special needs.

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The need for structure and a supportive and caring team of adults.

The secret to managing a special education classroom is to have a lot structure and a daily routine. More than any other group, no matter what grade level, children with special needs need to have a classroom structure and routine. Daily reinforcement of the structure creates a positive and caring atmosphere and an environment where the students will feel safe. Children, especially special needs students like predictability. The teacher should be consistent with implementing the daily structure in order to take out confusion from the children.

440672445_aed43eae73_oA team of teachers and aides who know how to handle and effectively connect with students with special needs is also needed for successfully managing a stress-free classroom. One teacher cannot handle a classroom of 10. He or she needs a teacher assistant, and depending on the IEP, if needed, therapists. Children would want to go to school if they know that the people who are taking care of  them are able and treat them with care and respect. Patience and a kind heart is key to working in this type of classroom.

A structure that is consistently implemented and a team who loves what they’re doing are the two secrets to creating a stress-free classroom for children with special needs. These two will help unleash the potential in every student.

 

Dear Teacher on the Tired Days

Dear Teacher on the Tired Days,

It’s all right, I know how you feel.
Let me tell you an experience so that you know I feel you.

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Last month, I was asked to be a substitute teacher at our local preschool and handle the toddlers (1.5-2.4) class. It was my first time to handle a class that was that young. When you think about handling a baby class, it might seem sooo easy. There are no “real” academics involved, no papers, no homework to check, and no “real” lesson plans.

But as soon as the Clean Up Song started, indicating that class was about to start, I was in deep, deep pressure I wanted to cry right then and there. There were toddlers who didn’t want to separate from their moms, parents who were watching from the glass window, children throwing toys around, yadda yadda. I came to class prepared–with my materials and activities, but I wasn’t prepared for them.

I took this job not really knowing how different it would be from my middle school class. I honestly thought “How bad could it be? Middle School is the most challenging anyway, because children are on puberty and in the phase of discovering what and who they like.” But my was it way, way different, and way more difficult!

Have you ever stood in front of a classroom, counting from 1-10 to yourself, thinking what should I do now? I have, and it was the worst day of my teaching life.

I cried after class as soon as I got to my car. I dreaded going back to school the next day. When I got home, I crashed and woke up in the middle of the night. Even if it was just 2.5hrs, I was dead tired. I got more tired when I woke up cause I dreamt of being back in the classroom with more crying toddlers! It was the worst. It was like that for the first 3 days.

Then I realized, these toddlers are looking up to me. I was the only figure that they are going to listen to. So I did my research that night and came to school the next day with a gun that blew bubbles and hi5 videos.

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Teaching is an on-going process of learning

The bubbles caught their attention, the hi5 videos made them want to dance. I danced with them, not for them. I played with them and did my activities with them. They needed to trust me so I showed them that they could. It was an on-going process of trust and learning for that whole month. Eventually, the days got better and the month ended with lots of love and laughter. They didn’t want to see me go!

Going to pre-school, I thought “How hard can this be? I’m a natural at teaching!” Coming out of preschool, I realized, “No one is born a toddler teacher.”

 

Sincerely,

A Sometimes Tired Teacher

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