“When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.”
– Proverbs 28:2 NIV
October 2013 will be the anniversary month of my 21st year of service as an educator within the Prince George’s County Public Schools’ system. 18 of those 21 years I have been involved with the Cooperative Discipline classroom management program created by author Dr. Linda Albert. As a participant and presenter of the Cooperative Discipline program, I have gained invaluable insight that has contributed to my success, progress and continued professional development as a classroom teacher, school community leader, workshop facilitator, and parent of 2 children.
During the course of this past school year 2012-2013, as I have presented Cooperative Discipline throughout the course of the school year, I have encountered one prevailing thought that summarizes for me my role as an educator within the classroom setting. I have shared this thought with my professional colleagues and I believe it is the essential skill in enabling the classroom teacher to be an effective classroom manager. ‘Beyond the planning of the lesson plan, the classroom teacher is a manager of people and their success and effectiveness comes from their ability to manage the people within their classroom.’
This may not be news to some, as it may be a source of revelation for others, but what I have shared during the course of this school year is the necessity of striving to become better in my ability to manage people in order to become effective in my ability to manage my classroom. Whatever I envision for how I desire my classroom to operate and my students to interact and function within this environment, I must create a plan to establish the routines and procedures that would facilitate creating this culture/environment. I also must have a sincere understanding of who the students are who assemble within the classroom to better understand how I would need to influence and inspire their cooperation and participation in achieving the desired result.
Long term, do I have the expectation that my students would be able to demonstrate self-efficacy in managing themselves being positive and productive consistently, or in order to ‘keep control’ do I unconsciously make them dependent on me to direct them?
What I like about Proverbs 28:2 is the understanding that even when my classroom is under the influence of student misconduct (rebellious country with many rulers), when the classroom teacher (ruler) applies discernment (application of intervention strategies from observation of student misbehavior) and knowledge (wisdom of best practices in relation to circumstance and individual student) they become effective in being a classroom manager (effective manager of people).
Regardless of age, children are still people and an educator who is successful in their craft is effective in managing the people within their environment. A few years back, when I was outside the classroom in a different role as an educator, I desired to become influential (like the man I admire Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) in my role as the Peer Mediation Coordinator for the high school I worked in. I was also serving in a new role as a team leader for a new school-wide implementation of the PBIS program. PBIS stands for Positive Behavior Intervention & Support. I was now responsible for influencing an entire school community to embrace positive behavior to affect change within the school community. I was recognized two years in a row as most inspirational among the staff members by the SGA ’07-’08 & ’08-’09.
This has taught me that whatever I expect from my students within the classroom, I must first envision it and model what I expect from them. I have to take ownership of the expectations I have for my students and influence them to join hands with me to experience the fulfillment of what I desire to see in becoming an effective classroom manager. Effective classroom management is about being an effective manager of people.
May God bless you and help you to grow in your role within the school community becoming an effective manager of people by applying the best practices and principles of scripture that involve positive, productive interaction with people.