Before I start talking about the importance of classroom management, I would like you to picture the following scenario: a teacher arrives in the classroom where about thirty ten-year-olds are waiting for her. Not one of them is sitting at their desks. The teacher had planned to cover three pages of the course book. That was her lesson plan. Students simply ignore the fact that the teacher has arrived and continue doing their thing, which is, in this case, talking, walking around, playing and teasing one another. The teacher is more worried about reaching her desk, so that she can open her attendance book, check what is planned for the day, and finally, get a chance to start shouting at the students to make them sit down so that she can start her class. Once she finally gets students to sit, she takes attendance. Right then, she has already wasted at least 15 minutes. In some cases, that is almost a third of the class time. The teacher then struggles to get through the class by working on the pages she has planned. No surprise, she thinks it is very hard to engage students in learning these days.
Now, let’s talk about the kind of help this teacher needs. It is pretty obvious to me that this teacher is lacking classroom management skills. This teacher needs to understand the importance of planning her classes, and that planning does not mean browsing through the pages that she is going to cover before the class begins. This teacher needs to understand that students need rules, and they need someone who constantly reminds them of the rules, and consistently shows them the consequences of not following those rules.
This teacher needs to be aware of the fact that students need to be busy at all times if she wants to avoid misbehavior. She needs to know that, since the beginning of the class, students must have something to do, no matter how simple it is, so that they get in the mood and rhythm of the class. She needs to admit that it is her own engagement that is going to engage students. Not much else.
This teacher needs to see her job as the most important job in the world, and act accordingly. She needs to know the learning process deeply enough, so that her voice is heard and the school takes her seriously when she claims for what she and her students need in order to make learning happen.
Finally, this teacher must acknowledge the fact that she can never stop learning. Because that is the most valuable lesson to teach her students: that learning never ends.