Leadership Development for Teachers
The constant putting out fires is exhausting. You dread the thought of this happening all year and hope it is not the new normal. It bothers you so much that you can’t help glance longingly at the clock wondering if dismissal time is here. You crave to know how classroom management could work for your classroom. You want to try something new.
I have five classroom management tips uniquely for you. Strategies that take perseverance and practice, allow for a more cooperative classroom and is a time and headache saver as well. The focus on both you and your students is vitally and equally important. Do what resonates and harmonizes with you, your students and your values.
- Take good care of yourself
Teachers are famously known to care for everyone but themselves. For example, when you fly, part of the flight attendants’ announcement usually includes something like: “Put your oxygen mask on first and then assist your child.” Well, that makes sense. How can you help your child if you pass out on the floor? The same rule applies to you and your classroom. If you don’t take care of yourself first, then you are in no condition to take good quality, meaningful care of a classroom of children. I understand that grasping this concept is markedly challenging, especially if you are accustomed to ignoring your own needs and are taking care of everyone else’s.
You have value. Ask five of your closest friends how you have value and write what they say. Next, close your eyes for a moment and embody your value. Feel it flow in and around you. Embodying your value allows you to instantly feel better inwardly. Your value will glow on the outside as well. Imagine modeling ‘feeling good’ for others. I’m not advising a one size fits all solution of eating healthfully, exercising, taking a day off, soaking in a bubble bath, doing yoga or meditating. Although one or more of those may work for you, I am advising to think about what support you uniquely need. What would your brightest child tell you?
- Line up with your values and your student’s values.
What do you value? What you value is uniquely for you. Some people value having fun, adventure, learning, spirituality, freedom, relaxation, risk taking, independence and choice. Being aligned with your values gives you quality in your life and a heightened sense of fulfillment. For example, helping a struggling student may feel unpleasant in that moment. If you align with valuing serving others, you may notice a feeling of fulfillment. What do you believe your children value? This may be a good topic of discussion or activity. Still don’t know what you value? I can help you discover and clarify them.
- Have Class Meetings.
Class meetings are a fantastic opportunity to work together on creating goals and solving challenges. Children figure out what they need and what works for them. Class meeting are simple to run and come with numerous benefits. Take a few minutes, sit down together in a circle or U-shape so that everyone can see each other. All are equally valued. Everyone benefits from brainstorming, voting and listening to each other’s ideas. Let children make decisions. The students gain worthwhile insight which leads to enriched and empowered problem solving. Customize meetings to add flexibility, specifically to your class situation.
A great topic to discuss during a class meeting could be, such as, a fight that occurred on the playground during recess. You and the children could brainstorm ideas about the problem, possible solutions and prevention methods. Students could talk about what gets in their way, what they are afraid of and what support they need. Future strategy planning by students on fighting would add value. When they carry out solutions they came up with, they become empowered.
Class meetings are a win-win for all involved. The children will amaze you once they realize they are being heard. They will increasingly want to solve their own problems. Students experience how they are contributing and how they make a difference. Soon, differences in their performance in academics and other areas of child development such as social, language and physical development will come to the forefront. Measure and graph their growth for extended learning.
Try short meetings every day or one longer meeting once a week. I recommend meeting everyday at first; then you can tweak it to fit everyone’s needs. Perhaps too much time consumed is a concern, but after a bit of practice, you’ll be saving time in the long run.
- Be a positive role model
Children naturally emulate those around them. They watch what you, their family and others do and will reenact what they see. Your students look up to you and want to be just like you. Your actions could have a huge impact for one or more children. Align yourself with what you value and tap into the best part of yourself, then you will be a great role model. What qualities do you believe would be good to imitate? Positive habits include caring for others, being honest, showing respect, being kind, illustrating responsibility and healthful eating. All are wonderful for children to observe. Show how you follow through with promises, are on time and how you finish what you have started. Positive behaviors they see from you will make more sense to children when they expect to do the same. You’ll love to see them, such as, practice behaviors such as gratitude and careful listening. Have confidence and be proud of what you do. Also, you will make mistakes and will fail and fail again; you are human. Show how you learn to pick yourself up and make changes after failure. The children will joyfully emulate you, a positive role model that they will always remember.
- Be a true leader.
The teacher is a leader, together with the students, that serves the needs and goals of the classroom. Tapping into your leadership is a great way for you to be in tune with what’s happening with the group. Once you are aware of both your students needs AND your needs then you’ll be able to offer a listening ear to them. Each time you interact, listen closely. Self manage listening skills by focusing on the children instead of your own thoughts. Listen to what is underneath their words and what is occurring. Tune into them while using your intuition.
Commit to doing what is best for everyone. You can champion students, ask them thought-provoking questions and practice valuable communication skills. Be mindful of what is happening. The information you gain will open insight that will allow you to come up with a plan that fits like a glove. Everyone benefits when practicing leadership skills. You and the students receive the gift of empowerment. You will gain powerful new knowledge about the students and about yourself. It will open up welcoming, bright, wide doors.
Bonus tip #6. Pick ONE thing on this list that resonates and seems manageable. Then, take one action. Choose an action that feels right, even if you are not reading it here. That will make a huge difference and will create one new positive habit. Put your positive intentions out in the universe. Attract what you want into your life now.
Feeling like you just can’t do this? Don’t know where to begin or how to stay accountable? Do you feel stuck and in a rut and not feeling motivated? Perhaps these ideas aren’t resonating. If that is the case, a powerful, custom tailored coaching session could help you move progressively forward and gain insight. Believe me, hope has arrived. Coaching will help you dig a bit deeper and will find out the specific thing(s) that will work and will resonate with you and will move whatever is in your way, out-of-the-way. Contact me for a free powerful sample session. What do you choose? To continue on the same stagnant road or to advance full speed ahead?
Witworth L., Kimsey-House, K., Kimsey-House, H. and Sandahl, P. (2007) Co-active Coaching: New Skills for Coaching People Toward Success in Work and Life. Boston: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
Martin, Becky. Continuous Improvement – Cedar Rapids Community School District: Classroom Management. http://quality.cr.k12.ia.us/Tutorials/classs_mtgs/class_mtgs.pdf
Silverman, Robyn. Being a Positive Role Model: Seven Ways to Make an Impact. http://drrobynsilverman.com/body-image/being-a-positive-role-model-seven-ways-to-make-an-impact/
Daskal, Lolly. Decision Making. Inc Magazine. Why You Should Stop Being a Boss and Start Being a Leader. http://www.inc.com/lolly-daskal/the-choice-is-yours-boss-or-leader-pick-one.html