“Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds.”
– Proverbs 27:23 NIV
The Preventive style of classroom management asks the question- What do I do so the ‘good students’ will continue to behave? Another way to say it is- What should I do that will motivate willing students to keep cooperating even when others don’t? There are students who consistently come into the classroom and immediately engage with the procedures and expectations without any prompting from the teacher. Oftentimes they go unnoticed, unrecognized and sometimes we may not even know who that student is in comparison to the number of students whose names we learn by the end of the first day of school due to misconduct.
Upon my return to the classroom, after 10 years, I made up my mind I would learn to give more time and attention to students who rarely are recognized for the ‘good’ that they do. I felt too much time and focus was being invested in misconduct and misbehavior to the detriment of my personal mental health, professional motivation and the ability to be positive minded within the classroom that inspires learning, cooperation and consistent positive contribution from my students. I challenged myself to ‘shift’ my focus from ‘negative’ behavior towards ‘positive’ behavior. As I was successful in accomplishing this, the more students would strive to be positive contributors and the frequency of ‘negative’ behavior would subside. Employing strategies of ‘positive’ recognition for positive behavior, affirmation of student ‘positive’ contributions and progress (work or conduct), expressed appreciation and increased attention given to ‘positive’ behavior (supportive), and being consistent and persistent with executing consequences (corrective) for misconduct went a long way in helping to influence the desired results within my classroom over the past 3 years.
I have been in 3 different school communities the past 3 years (this coming school year I’ll be returning for a 2nd year for the first time in 5 years!) and feeling rooted and grounded feels good! Applying the principles of being corrective, supportive and preventive requires me to be conscientious, compassionate and courageous. My consistent prayer has been to be positive and productive in how I operate in the classroom in order to manage it and maintain order. Words cannot adequately describe the level of frustration I felt having to return to the classroom, but as I’ve learned to accept and embrace my role and God’s will for me as an educator, I am learning to get back on my proverbial bike and enjoy the ride!
May God bless you and help you to use knowledge and wisdom in a positive, productive way to manage your classroom and maintain order that inspires cooperation and promotes learning.