Samantha Whaley, MPA - Boys Town National Training
Think back to your days in school. What do you remember about your favorite teacher? Is it learning about the Civil War or that first time you mastered the Pythagorean Theorem in geometry? If you are like me, your memories of your favorite teacher had nothing do to with what you were actually learning. Instead it was laughing at Mr. Miller covered in chalk from head to toe as he attempted to draw a legible version of the continent of Africa on the chalkboard that ended up looking more like the state of Florida.
As teachers, we all hope we teach students the knowledge to succeed in life. But often what sticks with students is how you make them feel, how you make them laugh or when you were there even if no one else was. A positive classroom environment contributes to academic success just as much as teaching students Algebra or American Lit.
Reflecting on your classroom and making small changes can make the difference between a negative or positive classroom environment. Here are some things to think about:
Are you being proactive?
Are you giving enough praise?
Are you effectively correcting behavior?
Everyone has a boiling point and when you reach that point it’s hard not to yell or lose your patience. However, we all know this is rarely effective. When correcting behaviors remember to:
Do you have positive-relationships with students?
Remember Mr. Miller from the beginning of this blog? I remember his class so fondly not only because he was funny and always covered in chalk but because he learned something about each of us. On the first day he remembered he taught my older brother and when he realized this he told me a funny story from when Dustin was in his class. This made me feel like Mr. Miller cared about me as a student. Build positive relationships by:
There is no better time than the start of the year to create a positive learning environment. Use this guide for more tips and tools to self-assess your learning environment.