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We’re truly right in the midst of a perfect storm right now. As difficult as it is to believe, COVID has been in our lives for more than a year and a half. That means our students spent much of that time working and learning from home. Now that they are back in the classroom, children have almost forgotten how to interact with each other and what it means to be in school. As a result, there’s a lot of excessive chatting and distracting behaviors, which makes it even more challenging for you to teach.
I've been reading a lot of comments and listening to many of you inside our Beginning Teacher Talk private Facebook group, talking about these kinds of behaviors that you're seeing this year inside your classrooms. It’s unlike anything that teachers have seen before, including experienced teachers.
Teachers are being asked to deal with challenges that you just aren’t trained to handle. I want to acknowledge that I know how tired you are, and how hard you’ve been working. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. I promise it won’t always be this hard. What’s going on is not normal. The amount that’s being piled on you is not typical and it’s not sustainable. If you’re struggling specifically with classroom management right now, you are most definitely not alone.
Here’s the good news (yes, there is good news!). Even if you are struggling right now, it isn’t too late to turn things around. It is never ever too late. Every single Monday is a new opportunity for a fresh start in your classroom. With that realization, I invite you to keep an open mind. Let’s start thinking about what we can do inside our classrooms instead of what we can’t do.
We can make changes to our classroom management, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Try viewing your classroom management as a calculated experiment that you can continue to adapt and change throughout the year. If you try a management strategy and it doesn’t work, don’t give up! I want you to give yourself the grace and the space to learn this stuff. It just takes time and practice.
Let's decide right now to stop expecting ourselves to be perfect, and give ourselves permission to be learners. Today I’m giving you three specific strategies that will work for an out-of-control, chatty class. These are strategies that you can begin implementing as soon as tomorrow. Just remember that you have the power to try new things until you find what works for you and your students. It may require you to consistently revisit rules and boundaries. You’ve got this!
I hope this information is helpful as you prepare for your first, second, or third year of teaching. Until next time, remember, just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.
Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor
Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at drlorifriesen.com and at howdogshelpkids.com.
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