What exactly constitutes good classroom management skills? That’s the question I’m pondering today. One of my good friends just got back her administrative evaluation. The principal said she was excellent in everything but classroom management.
I’m not sure how that works. Could you have a good lesson if you let the class descend into chaos? The lesson wouldn’t really matter then. "Fabulous lesson," a principal might say. "I could barely hear it over the students' screaming, but you hit every level of Bloom's Taxonomy."
Most teachers, I think, could use some improvement in their classroom management techniques. I don’t think I’m the greatest, I’m sure I could improve, but I’d never just let the students run all over me. “If there’s an adult in the room, it better be me” – that’s my motto.
Still, I have to wonder if this principal was just looking for a flaw. My friend did group work, and group work always gets a little loud. No matter the group, someone is going to get off task, because that goes with the territory. From what I understand, group work and “collaborative” learning is what administrators want to see, right?
Apparently, my friend, who was moving from group to group, didn’t “redirect quickly enough” when there was misbehavior going on in other groups. One student said the f-word while the teacher was engaged with a group on the other side of the room. This shows poor classroom management.
Here’s my question - if the principal is in the room and the kid still swears in front of her, does the principal think teacher redirection is going to help? The principal is sitting RIGHT THERE, and the kid still shows unacceptable behavior. It’s like a guy running a stop sign in front of a cop, and the cop is trying to ticket bystanders for not stopping him. Furthermore, we teach in a very rough, inner-city school. Someone only dropped the f-bomb once? I’d say that’s a successful lesson.
I’ve also heard that in any evaluation, an administrator has to find something that the teacher needs to improve on. That seems like a good system. I suppose if Jesus Christ, the master teacher, was being evaluated, he would have been dinged for using too many everyday analogies or “talking over the students’ heads.” But I bet He’d have great classroom management skills.