My current research centers around my classroom management, particularly around my ability to define and enforce two key expectations: a quiet classroom and that students remain in their seats. My teacher education program gave me many tools to manage my classroom, but classroom management is not a transferable skill; rather, it is a skill learned by doing…and doing without a safety net. Most teachers I have talked to name classroom management as the single biggest area of growth for them their first few years. And I am no exception.
Classroom management was not my first choice for research. Initially, I wanted to work on building relational rather than instrumental understanding amongst my students, in response to issues that arose last year. Ever since this dichotomy was pointed out to me in my Master’s program, it crystallized how I think about the way I accumulate knowledge and the way I present knowledge to students in a variety of disciplines. However, after a week in my classroom I realized I still needed to hone my abilities to maintain a sense of order in my classroom. It’s difficult to develop any kind of understanding if you can’t hear instruction!
I’m a Kindergarten teacher… but I try not to let people know. It’s not shame that stops me, it’s that enevitable response: “Awwww, Kindergarten! How cute!”
Yes, the kindergarteners themselves are cute. But, Kindergarten, the grade, is messy, hard work. Set aside that many students are still figuring out what that “bathroom feeling” is, they have only been on IN THE WORLD for five or six years. There’s a lot to learn.
We expect a lot out of kindergarteners, and rightly so. Their minds are primed to soak in tons of information. But, I have learned to temper my expectations in one area: emotional recognition.