Throughout this module I have learned that classroom management consists of three main domains: the affective domain, the disciplinary domain, and the professional domain. This is my own definition and to me it means that we must be affectionate and caring to our students, temper this by showing them sufficient and consistent discipline so that they can grow into healthy and balanced human beings and then we must also be professional about it all by mastering emotional objectivity or being able to distance oneself from students’ behavior towards us. I have also learned that effective classroom management is essential in order to create an environment where learning can take place. Practices such as putting in place rules and procedures and establishing norms (such as PBIS – Positive Behavior Intervention and Support) assist teachers greatly in managing students, but they also establish greater clarity between teachers and students in terms of what is expected of them.
I firmly believe in the importance of establishing a good relationship with each student, and it is a skill that comes easily to me. This is a good thing because I tend to have difficulty being frivolous or light-hearted and in general I am a very serious person. (I mentioned in the virtual class that I am horrible at telling, or even getting jokes; but thankfully being humorous is not a job requirement.) As a result of my tendency to take things too seriously, my greatest skill to master will be emotional objectivity and learning to creating sufficient separation between work and my personal life. I have already started working on this and I feel that I am improving rapidly in this area and I certainly can see what it is so important. My greatest fears are also linked to this identified weakness: they are the fear of being confronted in a negative way by my students’ parents and the fear of not pleasing the school administration. Thankfully, long before I decided to pursue this career I was a natural teacher and have always been good with children and adults. For years everyone has assumed I was either a teacher or a nurse although in truth I was working in finance. I actually know that my teaching skills are pretty good; things that some people have to learn seem obvious to me. Therefore, the professional undertakings that would have the greatest benefit for me, would be to increase my confidence, so that I can better apply all the theory I have learned. I can think of two ways to achieve this. The first is to complete my practicum and the second is to do the Teach-Now masters so that I will feel that I am super qualified as a teacher.
In terms of contributing to improving specific skills on the job, I do find it difficult to deal with belligerent students. Unfortunately, some children have been through so much that they just cannot open-up initially. However, I firmly believe that “a gentle drop of sweet rainwater on stone wears the stone away”. Said in another way: “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”. Given sufficient time to develop a relationship with students, I know I can reach each one of my students – and, I am not a softie either. I believe that discipline is essential and should absolutely be consistent, but it must be used with understanding of the full situation a child is experiencing. With my being from a Caribbean background, although I agree that corporal punishment is no longer acceptable or necessary in almost all cases, I do feel that the saying “spare the rod, spoil the child” is still accurate if “the proverbial rod” is conceived to be discipline – an essential pillar of the nurturing in any child’s life, even the messengers of God.