Classroom management at the elementary school I am in definitely seems to be a top priority. On Friday’s, for example, there is a school-wide assembly that is lead by one specific classroom each week. The rest (grades K-7) are all packed into the auditorium, yet you would never tell how many students are actually there watching. The students are quiet and very respectful of the students performing on stage. The first grade class that I am specifically in is made up of twenty-four students. The class is split up between ten boys and fourteen girls. The classroom itself is not very large, yet it is set up in a way to maximize the space. There are six tables of four, with three of each side of the room. My CT’s desk, the smart board, and the computers are all located in the front of the room. There are posters and students work posted all around the classroom, making each part of the classroom definitely utilized in some way or another.
The first graders are given high expectations that they are expected to meet. The classroom rules and proper behaviors are posted on the walls around the classroom as a constant reminder. While I did come in towards the end of their school year, as the seasons are reversed, it is still very impressive how well these students behave. For example, after both their lunch and recess break the students know to automatically come and sit quietly in two straight lines outside the door to their classroom without ever being reminded. They know whom they are supposed to sit next to and do it quickly and quietly. They have also learned that the bell signals at the end of lunch, recess, and the day and they know what to do at each of these times.
The teachers here are definitely firm in terms of verbal discipline, but it is used only if needed. The students seem to respond well to the discipline given even though it is not dished out very often. It seems students are more often in trouble for forgetting their hats needed for going outside (“no hats no play”) then for actually acting out. Students are also quick to change their behaviors with just a simple reminder of getting back on track. Students are taught the skills of listening to and respecting others at all times. They are very polite and proper manners are constantly reinforced in the classroom. It goes to show that these values are highly encouraged and practiced in this school setting even if it is not typically regarded as part of the “formal education.” The classroom is managed and definitely kept under control throughout the day.