One of the things I am always most interesting in observing during my student teaching experience is how the classrooms are managed. I believe that classroom management is the key to educational success in any given classroom. If the students understand what is expected of them both intellectually and behaviorally, they will have a better rate of success.
The CT I have been observing teaches 5th grade. Prior to this year, she taught the junior infants, which would be equivalent to pre-school. When she told me this on my first day, I was very interested to see how she ran a classroom of ten and eleven year olds after teaching four and five year olds for a number of years. My CT is extremely calm, but that’s not to say I haven’t seen her raise her voice to her students. She expects her students to do their homework, pay attention, and take an active role in each lesson.
The classroom consists of twenty children. The students’ desks are now set up in a “U” shape, and they sit in boy-girl order which was created to avoid any temptations for friends to sit next to each other and get distracted by side conversations. My CT will rearrange the seating order at any time if she feels that there is a bad match of students next to each other.
One thing I admire most about her is that she does not go back on her word in regard to discipline. She gives the students one, maybe two warnings depending on the rule broken. If she threatens them with “indoor” recess, or other punishments, she follows up on it if the students try to test her. I believe that is extremely important for managing a classroom successfully so the students will know exactly what is expected of the, and what the reciprocations will be if they choose to disobey.
My CT has a lot of authority in the classroom, and that is why I believe the classroom is run so smoothly and a successful learning environment for all of the students. Many students are pulled out throughout the day for different academic and behavioral reasons, so my CT is able to focus on specific groups of children who are all relatively on the same academic level. Because the class is relatively on the same level, my CT is able to create lessons that fit the level of the majority of students in the classroom. While I have been in the classroom, my CT has even created smaller groups within the class that allows me to not only work with the students, but allows them to get more individualized attention.
Although the students came into 5th grade at a lower academic level than they should have, my CT has created an environment that can cater to their needs and lead to a lot of academic success!