Classroom Organization, Leadership, and Management: 7, 8

“Nathan set clear classroom expectations and in turn did not have one disciplinary issue all semester.” – PS3 Mentor Teacher

“It was beneficial that physics and math are within Nathan’s comfort zone because it allowed him to really hone in on the classroom management and student relationship piece to teaching.” – PS3 Administrator

“[Nathan,] you have worked hard to build positive relationships with students and staff.” – PS1 Mentor Teacher

#7: Meeting Student’s Needs
Know how to engage students in creating effective classroom routines. Know how and when to apply a variety of management strategies, in keeping with the situations that provide for minimal disruptions to learning.

One of the things that I learned the most about in my third professional semester is how to create classroom routines. In my previous semesters, I’ve always come into a classroom that’s already established itself, but this time I had to create my own plans. Not everything started off perfectly but over time, I started to realize what it is that I expect of my students and they learned what I expected of them as well.

The summary of this can be found in my Classroom Management Plan.

I’ve also found that one of the best ways to convey my expectations to my students is to provide them with exemplars or anti-exemplars. Here is an example of an exemplar I provided for my Science 10 class as to how they might present an Energy Conversion Device.

I find that anti-exemplars are extra-important in addressing common misconceptions in science and math. By recognizing common mistakes that students make, I can easily address them in an example problem on the board as an example of what NOT to do in a certain situation or on a type of problem.

#8: Respecting Students’ Dignity
Know how to establish, with different students, professional relationships that are characterized by mutual respect, trust, and harmony.

Without a doubt, the best evidence that I have for this KSA is my work as a coach with the school swim team and especially the planning and implementation of the Games Club.

The Games Club had not existed before and I created it from scratch. I wanted to create a safe place for those students who didn’t fit into the nice academic or athletic slots that are already so available at the school. Having grown up a geek, I knew what it was like trying to find friends with shared geeky interests, so this was my attempt at making a place where those students could come together and be themselves together.

We would use television sets to hook up gaming systems, we’d have Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic: The Gathering drafts, and have Pokemon, Super Smash Bros, and Mario Kart tournaments so that the students could compete against each other.

And the students loved it. Every so often when we had to skip a week, I would have students asking if we could make it up another day. At the beginning of the semester, I overheard one student say, “Where was this club when I was in grade 10?” This really speaks to me as a teacher because it shows that students are going to appreciate it when we take those few extra steps to look at their interests and provide for them. The Games Club is another thing that I’m going to take with me no matter where I end up going.