How To Ensure Your Consistency For Next School Year
If you don’t know exactly what does and doesn’t constitute breaking your class rules—with zero gray area—then you can’t be consistent.
You also can’t be trustworthy or manage your classroom effectively.
Just the way it is.
Luckily, there is something you can do this summer to ensure your consistency for next school year. It’s a simple exercise that removes all uncertainty from your classroom management plan.
It takes just a few minutes, but it will create an automatic mental signal notifying you the moment to enforce a consequence.
The way it works is that you’re first going to jot down all the different misbehaviors you’ve seen in your classroom over the past three years or so. Be as detailed as possible. Take your time and list them from top to bottom.
Once that is finished, next to each misbehavior note the rule it breaks. Sometimes the misbehavior will break more than one rule, which is perfectly okay.
Write down the one that fits best. The rule broken is far less important than knowing a rule has been broken.
This part of the exercise alone is worth its weight in gold because it begins imprinting your brain with an image of the misbehavior along with the accompanying rule. You see, one of the biggest reasons teachers struggle with consistency is because they freeze.
The uncertainty of whether or not a rule has been broken causes them to hesitate, second-guess, and ultimately move on without giving a consequence. This is extremely common.
It’s also difficult to fix without doing this exercise.
But once you’re able to recognize immediately the exact behaviors that break your class rules, being consistent becomes easy. There is, however, one more step that will cement the images in your mind in a way you’ll never forget.
After you’ve placed a rule next to each misbehavior, you’re now going to visualize a student breaking each rule and you calmly following through.
You may want to take your time with this one as well. However, there is no need to memorize. You see, your brain has an amazing, photographic way of remembering whatever you rehearse in your mind’s eye.
The behavior itself, then, when played out in real life in front of you, will prompt a reflexive response.
It will light up the hippocampus and hippocampal gyrus regions of the brain. It’s like someone yelling “Now!” into your ear, enabling you to enforce without thought or stress or fear you’re getting it wrong.
You’ll be Pierluigi Collina, who is considered the greatest soccer referee of all time, calling ’em like you see ’em.
Just close your eyes and watch as a student—perhaps the one that caused you so much frustration in the past—engages in each misbehavior on the list and you methodically enforcing a consequence.
If you’re following our recommended classroom management plans, then you know that enforcement will look different depending on whether you’re using the high school or elementary e-guide.
The exercise will eliminate every shred of incertitude and allow you to be truly consistent, day in and day out. It will allow you to protect your students from interruption and free them to love being part of your class.
Which is the one true secret to effective classroom management.
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