After nearly 30 years in the classroom, I have a routine.
- I have assigned seats ready as they enter.
- I introduce myself briefly.
- I go over the class rules on the first day because issues can arise.
- I show the video below to more fully introduce myself.
- I hand every student THIS first day survey and assignment.
My second day is when I cover the topic of "why is art an important subject." After years and years of saying the same thing, I have made these posters and go over them with my class.
I'll add this from my Classroom Management information on my blog:
In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb
One of the great “Truths” about teaching is it is easier to come on strong and loosen up later. Displaying your rules in the bulletin board can be an effective reminder of your expectations.
It is always difficult to crack down on bad behavior that you have let escalate. If you set a tone of control, organization, and consistency from day one, it is easier to nip these bad behaviors early. As the year progresses their behavior will be more controlled. As it does, you can loosen the constraints a bit. This does not mean to become lax; but seating assignments can change, maybe music can be played during individual work-time. It can take the form you feel a more “relaxed” situation should be with you in charge.
The beginning of the year is the time to set strict rules and follow through on consequences. It is your time to learn about the individual needs of your students and build relationships. It is your time to find out what motivates them.
Don’t be a “Friend,” be a Teacher OR, Being Fair vs Being Liked
If one of your goals is that you are “liked” by students, you have a long and painful road ahead.
If you are fair, consistent, and respectful of your students, students will like you, but it should never be a goal. Your primary goal is to teach your subject matter and manage your room. It is what you are paid to do and there is nobility in this profession of education.
Personally, I would much more appreciate that my students respect me than like me.
As teachers, we see unmanageable students from time to time, with parents that have no sympathy or respect for what we do. Some joke that “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” but my own experience is that many of these issues stem from “Friendship Parenting.” Most parents do not receive the training we do about behavior modification, positive reinforcement, and enforcing consequences for choices. They may not have come out of good family situations themselves.
These are the parents that base their discipline on how their children will feel about their parenting. They are afraid they will come off as mean. They want their kids to be their friends, so they are overly lenient and do not set clear boundaries nor do they follow-through in a consistent way with consequences. This sets up a pattern of confusion as expectations cannot be gauged.
These are the parents that agree with their child when a student says, “Mr. So-and-so hates me!” They call, they yell, they assume you are “out to get” their child, when all you are doing is being clear about expectations and holding them to the boundaries you have set. In these cases you should make your supervisor aware of these communications. If they are sent via e-mail, send a copy of all correspondence to your director as well. Do not be an island, especially if you do not have tenure.