Whenever classroom management is discussed, I am reminded of two nuggets of wisdom passed on to me by mentors I have had over the years. The first is that (despite what some programs may promise) there is no Gray’s Anatomy for education. If a student acts out in class, I can’t definitively address the behavior by going to a specific chapter in a manual. The second contrasts with the former by encapsulating what teachers can do – build positive relationships with their students, no matter what. This aspect of teaching is more important than ever.
It is unlikely that a student will learn from a teacher they don’t connect with or think cares about them. Therefore, when you approach schools, avoid promising them a quick fix to classroom management. Instead, embrace the reality that it takes effort and intentionality by teachers to develop relationships.
How can your product or service do that? And, by all means, have successful anecdotes on how you were able to support teachers in this endeavor.
Of course, you should include some aspects of class management based on relationship building when you approach schools. Here are four to keep in the forefront.
Social-Emotional Learning (SEL):
Providing caring, safe, and respectful classrooms is essential. It’s more important than any curriculum; many schools haven’t realized that and need your help.
Communication with Parents:
Positive relationship building can happen in many ways. One way that is overlooked is teacher-parent communication. Make it simple for teachers to convey positive sentiments to parents about their children. It is amazing how rare this is. Most parents receive negative messages from schools about their children.
An Advisory Program…
Those teachers can get excited about it. Creating this is one way to separate the pearl from the oyster. One design principle is a program involving community and student input. How can you support schools to make that happen?
Support ALL Students:
The worst thing educators say is, “my students can’t do that.” Almost always, this is code for a teacher’s inability or unwillingness to connect effective instruction with relationship building. Your program should empower teachers to support all students and value students’ experiences when it comes to their learning.
There are features of education that are timeless – relationships are one of them. Relationships are the key. This mantra needs to be part of your lead with schools. Unfortunately, it has been lost over time. Make the time to bring it back into the spotlight.