Teach Better

Since 2018 I’ve been writing a book on classroom management in the CI classroom. I threw it in the trash in my computer today. Why? Because it’s a waste of time to write and to read a book about classroom management. How can we possibly remember everything in the book and apply it in the right circumstance at the right time? It’s a fool’s errand, when one thinks about all the other things we have to think of when teaching a CI class. In fact, in general, the entire CI movement has turned into a big cacophony of competing ideas that are confusing and driving away a lot more teachers than are being successfully attracted and integrated into the CI movement. So here is my new take on how to keep order in your classroom when teaching a CI class, including online instruction:

Teach better.

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4 thoughts on “Teach Better”

  1. Pull it out of the trash can. The trick about classroom management is building community. Taking very different people with many different agendas and issues and throwing them together in one room for 50 minutes and expecting them to learn what one person wants them to because the government is paying them (or some other authority) is a pretty insane idea to begin with. But it is what we do world wide.

    Where else but in our classrooms can folks see a model for accepting one another, valuing what each contributes to the whole, and respect for our environ in which we share those single cubicles called classrooms with people we may only engage with for a little while?

    There is no quick fix or tried and true route to classroom management. Our best teachers that we respected, respected us. They took an interest in us and every other person in the room with us. That is not an easy task. They were honest with us up front about the rules to live in their domain. And they were consistent. The best of them found the best in us. Even when we couldn’t. They encouraged us and championed us when we needed them to even when a tough love situation happened.

    Most folks who go into teaching are not really aware of how tough it is. They are not prepared for the uphill swim. One year at our school each Friday a teacher was appreciated in our small school assembly. The kids wrote notes, the parents bought flowers or gift cards, you get the drift. Specials (us) were saved for last. There was even a special throne for the teacher. But, it didn’t change the climate or behavior of what was happening in the classroom. Not even for an hour. My husband wanted to find a Salmon stuffed animal to mount on a hat to give to the teacher to wear, cause they swim upstream struggling and working their way to get home only to get screwed and die.

    Offering other teachers just entering the field who are only a few years older than the students the keys to building a community in their classroom is crucial. They probably didn’t experience it and certainly not from the adult point of view. They may not even appreciate they are the golden jewels of your experience. But some will. They will keep that book on their shelf and return to it on a tough day. They will pass it on a decade later to another young face coming into the field and say,”this may be dated but I got a lot out of it.”

    Of course the language teaching community is in a flux. It always is. Don’t worry about it. Do your best. Let go of the rest. Life is way too short to think we make a real difference. Change while happening constantly is incremental. But Change does come. Hell women can vote now! I think that was a tenet of the French revolution wasn’t it?

    It’s June and the world is off-kilter for sure. Let go and breathe. Renew yourself.

  2. Choice 5 for Best Sentence in June on the PLC:

    …taking very different people with many different agendas and issues and throwing them together in one room for 50 minutes and expecting them to learn what one person wants them to because the government is paying them (or some other authority) is a pretty insane idea to begin with….

    Well, when you put it that way….I finally get it.

  3. Good, just write your personal journey to becoming better at classroom management through the years and your book will become a best seller. You’ve come a significant way just in the years I have known you. Be honest about your failures and your successes. Any one picking up a classroom management book is looking for some truth and to know they aren’t the only one who sucked at keeping the classroom coheasive.

  4. Classroom management is the hidden issue, and without addressing it and finding a way to teach in a way that engages the kids, there is no hope for CI. But for me it’s no longer about finding ways to ‘manage’ a classroom, but ways to engage in such a way that they forget to act out.

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