Last week I spent time with an amazing first-grade teacher we will call Mrs. S. Mrs. S. is an experienced teacher that has her classroom set up following all of the “usual” rules for running a successful 1st-grade class.
But guess what?…. None of that is working this year and she is spending the majority of her day “chasing behavior.”
Now let me be clear, Mrs. S. is not a bad teacher, just the opposite. She is a great teacher that after using what usually works, realized those things are just not working. And she is not alone!
So many teachers are feeling this same struggle. After spending time just watching, what I learned was that Mrs. S. is doing ALL the work in the classroom, and most of the time is spent “chasing behavior.”
So how do you know if you are working too hard?
- Not getting through much of what you have planned for the day
- Chasing behavior for the majority of the day
- Constantly prompting and reminding students what to do
- Exhausted at the end of the day
- Dreading going to work each day
- Not seeing the student growth you had hoped
- Seeing more disruptive behaviors as the year goes on
If you answered yes to any of these, here are a few tips and tricks to get things moving in the right direction!
Slow down and take a look at things:
Oftentimes, as things get off-track in our classrooms, we speed up to try and cover more. This does not work. Slow down and really take a look at what and how you are doing things. This will give you the info you need to make changes and then move forward!
Look at your procedures.
I can’t emphasize enough how important strong procedures are to turning things around. Think about exactly what you want your students to do and define them clearly!
Practice, practice, practice!
Now that you’ve slowed down and reevaluated your procedures, it’s time to practice! And remember, this shouldn’t only happen at the start of the year.
Make sure your reinforcement system is connected to your highest priority procedures to start. So if transitions are what you are targeting, connect your reinforcement to transitions!
Needing to relook at things (or even change up your whole system) doesn’t make you a bad teacher! Just the opposite. Adjusting your program to the students you have, makes you the best kind of teacher!