For a lot of little learners, this year may be the FIRST time they have been inside a school. Because of the pandemic, many preschool and kindergarten children had yet to attend school in a formal educational setting. Even in the upper grades, due to disruptions with hybrid or online earning schedules, students did not get many opportunities to learn in-person classroom routines and expectations.
Many students will not know how to get in a line, sit in a circle, wait for their turn, use class materials respectfully, share with others, or clean up the classroom.
Teachers know setting up class routines, rules, and procedures is important, but with so many demands placed upon them, they often feel they don’t have time to establish class rules properly.
As a teacher, I had to remind myself every year to breathe, take a step back, and remember the big picture. After years of trial and error, I learned that when I allowed myself the time to model and practice rules and procedures, the entire year ran SO much better.
Great classroom management isn’t just fluff-stuff; it sets teachers up for a year of incredible class learning and growth. Their sanity, and in turn, their students’ well-being, are worth it.
Something I found that helps significantly with the success of establishing the rules, routines, and procedures is if my students understand the WHY behind all the repetition and practice. Having the WHY helps them “buy-in” to the process and see themselves contributing to the success of their class as a whole. They quickly see how being in an environment that has positive classroom management helps them learn better because they feel safe and less stressed.
Setting up student “buy-in” can be done through learning about good character and making respectful, responsible choices. Teachers can model good citizenship by taking care of their classroom materials, for example.
I personally know I’m more willing to follow rules and procedures when I understand WHY they are in place, and many children are the same way.
When teachers take the time to explain and help students understand the WHY behind back-to-school routines, students become more willing to follow them all year long!