Can I interview a teacher about “classroom decision making” please?
**What characteristics are you considering?
**On what basis are your decisions about students made?
It’s just an assignment. I hope you won’t bother if you give me your name and the school where you are teaching…
Thanks a lot Ma’am/Sir!
First, they absolutely MUST learn which students can SIT next to other students without becoming disruptive by excessive talking. (If they’re talking to each other, they’re not listening to the teacher). Then another thing that is good to do is to try to find the students who willingly “raise their hands” in answer to the teachers questions. I sit them in the middle of the room, as they are going to be the leaders in a discussion. I use the “4 corner offense”, ie: I put the 4 worst behaved students in the 4 corners of the seating chart, surrounded by quiet, polite students, who won’t put up with their bullsh!tt. The seating chart is VERY important, it’s the best friend a teacher has, and it is VERY important to establish it correctly, so that further changes later in the year are unnecessary (as that can lead to problems later). I usually give them 4 or 5 days to “hang themselves”, by telling them to sit anywhere they want on the first day (ONLY), and to stay in that EXACT seat until I get their permanent seating chart figured out. (This also help you learn their names much more easily: within 2 weeks, most teachers know the names and faces of 135 kids, so you see, they’re not that dumb; they’re “studying” you, and they know a lot more than you think they do just after a few days). I set their friends far apart from each other, those who are disruptive, or have the potential to be.
But there are also other things you must consider: such as physically handicapped children: you might have to give them some special consideration as to where to sit them. And a “pre-test” of basic skills is a good thing to do, as long as it’s well written, short and to the point. Then you’ll get an idea of how much the students know, and what you’ll have to spend more time teaching (or less time teaching). Don’t put short kids in the back of the room (they can’t see), and don’t put extra tall kids in the front (they block everybody’s view). And then there are racial considerations. Try to intermix them, don’t let all the same race sit together; they will if you let them, but don’t let them “self segregate”, it’s bad for them, and bad for the classroom too. For some students (you just can’t do everybody, there are too many, I’ll look up their report card or school file, especially for the “difficult” students).
Teaching is a VERY complex job, and the classroom MUST be managed first before good teaching can continue. “Classroom management” is mostly learned through experience, they can’t teach you much in college. In fact the whole teaching experience is so much “on the job” training, it’s no wonder that 50% of all teachers quit within 4 years of starting. It’s a VERY DIFFICULT JOB, and requires a person who has many special qualities just to survive. To be great, well, maybe one in 500 reach that level.
I teach English and Family and Consumer Science at a high school in southeast Louisiana
I size up students by talking to their teachers and carefully reviewing their *** folders. There is a wealth of information in a *** folder, including family status, health, test scores, teacher communications with parents, discipline concerns, etc.
Once I meet a student, I use observation to see how they interact in the classroom. Are they shy? Talkative? Social? I try to make time to get to know each student one-on-one to learn what they like, how they view school, what they worry about, etc.
I also use more formalized assessments to determine EACH child’s needs. Then I try to meet them at their level. Just because a child is in 4th grade doesn’t mean he has mastered 2nd or 3rd grade skills. So, there is no point in teaching 4th grade curriculum to that child until he has caught up.
If I have a reluctant, struggling reader who loves race cars, you better believe I am going to find books on race cars!
Hope that helps a bit.
-I talk to their previous teacher about academic performance and behavior.
-I review their file which includes phonological testing, report cards, and potential formal behavioral plans.
When they arrive:
-I immediately start to assess their behaviors.
-Their parents fill out a survey about their child. From their eyes they tell me what they see as strengths and weaknesses.
-Over two weeks I give them initial assessments in writing, reading, spelling, and math.
2nd Grade Teacher
Henrico County Public Schools
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