Really, you can smile before December!

Hookster's Ideas Classroom Management

I don't know how many times I was told to not smile before December during student teaching and even my first few years teaching, but believe me, it is ok to smile, and in fact I challenge you to SMILE and smile often this year!

I understand the the thought process behind that saying and yes, it is an exaggeration, but I think as a teacher one of the best ways to ease anxiety, relieve stress, and build rapport with your students is to perform the simple gesture of smiling and do it often.  I would go as far as to say that if you don't smile before December, you just may be in the wrong profession!!! :)

I am a very happy-go-lucky type of person and to be told that I couldn't smile because it would show weakness or softness that would allow students to walk all over me, was just absurd.  So if you are like me and it is just not in you to wear the stern look 100% of the time, then this is the post for you.

Here are a couple of things I have learned about management and how to control your classroom while showing your pearly whites:

1. You MUST be consistent.  Consistency is what will help your students thrive and also respect you.  Don't offer empty threats that you know you can't follow through on.

2. Allow your students to see the human side of you.  You, despite what you may think, don't know it all and admitting when you are wrong or that you don't know helps your students understand that you are a real person.  This will in turn allow them to trust you and will more likely be more compliant with your demands.  I have laughed, cried, and fallen in front of my students on multiple occasions.  I have admitted that I don't know what to do in a given situation, but that I was going to do some research to figure out the best solution to the problem.

3. Be a "warm demander."  Be polite and respectful.  Expect your students to work harder than they ever have worked.  Demand that your students reach levels that they don't think are possible, but you know they can! Read more about this here.

4. Become a narrating NINJA!  Doug Lemov taught me all about narrating the positive behavior you want to see in your classroom and do see happening.  It is easy to spot who isn't following your directions, but try narrating or calling out those students who ARE following your directions.  For example, "I see Julia walking in a straight, quiet line." or "Juan has his book open to page 98 and is sitting in SLANT waiting for the next direction."  It is AMAZING how quick that redirects those who are off task because who doesn't want positive recognition. If you haven't read Teach Like a Champion, stop what you are doing and buy this book!  It was a game changer for me. ***And, NO, I am not receiving any money to say that. :)

5.  Develop a system that works for you to manage, track, and reward students for their behavior.  Some things that I have used in the past that worked wonders in my fifth and sixth grade classes are Class Dojo, my Funny Money Token Economy, and for Intervention with really challenging students, I created an Editable Daily and Monthly Behavior tracker that worked wonders.  You can read all about it here.

So, go ahead and smile.  I give you full permission. When things get tough, and they will, just remember that it WILL be ok and this too shall pass.  Being a positive role model in your students' lives is worth smiling about.  You have hands down the best job in the world and so with that make this the best year yet!

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