Over the past couple of weeks, classroom management has been a hot topic. As student teaching gets closer and closer, I’ve been thinking a lot about how my students are going to behave when my Cooperating Teacher is out of the room. I know that a huge part of the the classroom community is dependent on the relationships he has with the students. I’ve been worried that things will fall apart in his absence. As all these thoughts went through my head, the opportunity to test it out arose. My CT had a sub for the first time this school year. I wondered how behavior would change in his absence.
Overall, the students had a great day. But there were definitely some issues that came up and a few incidences that occurred that probably wouldn’t have if my CT had been there. I have been focusing on building relationships with these students since the beginning of the year and I know that it will continue to be a focus of mine. I’m a big believer in following a Positive Discipline method in the classroom (I used this approach in my preschool classroom and have seen how well it works). I’m figuring out how to translate my knowledge of Positive Discipline with 3 year-olds to something that will work well with 6th graders.
I’m also interested in helping create an environment that isn’t so dependent on the teacher. I came across this blog post by Jennifer Orr where she is thinking about the same issues. She raises the question of how to create communities that don’t fall apart when the teacher is gone. I wonder if finding ways for students to strengthen their relationships with each other would help. Would cultivating a stronger identity to the group/school help lessen the impact when the teacher absent?