This past week I posted a survey on Facebook that asked just one question: What back to school topic concerns you the most? I was actually kind of shocked when I got my answer- classroom management. This got me thinking about how I felt about it. I recently wrote a blog post about this very topic, so it has been on my mind, but I hadn’t considered it from a back to school perspective. When I looked at it through that lens, it only gave me more questions: Are you only concerned about wrangling a new group of kiddos? Is this a concern all year? An are you need to address? Do you feel that your admin supports your management style? Are you any good at it? What exactly makes it scary?
We all know there are certain kinds of teaching and management styles, and thank God for that. Every kid needs a teacher they can relate to, and if we were all the same, then some kids would be left out in the cold. A lot of kids if everyone were like me. So let’s talk about a few teacher-types and the strengths and weaknesses of each, and how they contribute to classroom management.
- Emperor of the Classroom (aka Because I Said So)- These teachers rule their classrooms with an iron fist. They have no time for nonsense, and they often don’t crack a smile for the entirety of the first semester. The good thing about them is that they don’t let kids get away with anything, but the downside is that they usually don’t leave much room for mercy. There are kids who love these teachers and can see past the gruff exterior to the soft nougat center that’s often hiding beneath. These kids like structure and boundaries, so this teaching style works for them. The kids that don’t see eye to eye with this teacher probably never will. Free-spirited, artistic kids may buckle under the pressure of this teacher’s class.
- Benevolent Dictator (aka She’s mean! Okay, maybe not.)- There are always those teachers every kid hears about and is terrified to get. They hear he or she is mean and strict, and they really don’t want to see this teacher’s name on their schedule in the fall. (I might resemble this teacher) Throughout the year, the kids come to understand that the teacher IS strict, but also fair, and they learn a lot in the class. The good thing about these guys is that they hold kids to high standards, but the downside is kids may struggle because they don’t feel their teacher likes them until further into the school year. These teachers very often subsist on a steady diet of caffeine and sarcasm, so those dark and twisty, old-soul kids know there is more to the teacher than most kids realize. By the end of the year, the kids have usually figured it out, though there are definitely hold outs that will always despise this kind of teacher, especially if they have potential and don’t want to be reminded of it.
- The Cool Kid (aka Teacher Friend)- You can always tell which teachers have this personality because their room is always full of kids, and it’s not for tutorial help. Cool kids want to be liked (don’t we all?), but they develop different types of relationships with the students. The kids feel comfortable around them, and they will usually reveal more of their true fears and joys to this teacher. The great thing about that is that these teachers are privy to the gossip. This can actually save a kid in distress because the teacher can intervene and get them some help. The bad thing is that students may not take their class as seriously.
- Flower Power (aka It’s all good!)- These teachers are very laid back, and not a lot bothers them. I usually find these personality types gravitate towards electives because they can be more creative in their work. But that’s not always the case. The wonderful thing about the Flowers is that they just have such a heart for students and their subject. The students feel genuinely liked, so of course they love these teachers. And we all know that some kids only come to school for their elective, so these guys are great to have on campus. They reach the less academic and hard core intellectuals alike, but can sometimes seem flaky, even when they aren’t. This makes some students reluctant to respect them as much as other teachers in the building.
There are certainly more specific personality types, but I feel this covers the general spectrum. The important thing to remember is that every teacher can reach students and create a productive, well-mannered classroom environment using the same tools: Readiness, Rules, Relevance, Respect, Rigor, and Routines. You can read more about that here. Use your teacher type to your best advantage, and tackle those classroom management fears!
I’d love to hear from you about things that work, and things that don’t, in your classroom. What’s your teacher type? Leave comments below, and let’s talk!