My mentor teacher is really good at classroom management. She has been teaching for almost thirty years, so she has found some really neat ways to manage the class efficiently and effectively; her classroom seems to flow so smoothly! The students seem to know what to do without her saying a word; they simply follow the queues she puts out for them. For instance, during my observation I notice she puts out her textbook in a certain spot at the front of the room when she was going to do a lesson out of the book that day. The students came in and immediately knew to grab a book before they sat down (although, this was not something they were happy about; there were many grunts when they saw the book of course!).
We have a rowdy class this period (last class of the day), so it takes a minute to get them settled down. Usually my mentor teacher does this by walking up to the center of the classroom and stands there for a second, silent; this doesn’t take long for the students to notice and they quiet down so my mentor can proceed with opening the lesson. My mentor hardly lectures; she gets the class involved by asking a lot of questions about the subject and what they see in the text. The students respond so much better to this. If a student seems to be off task, my mentor simply says their name and they know she wants them to stop whatever they’re doing and get back on task; just simply saying the students name seems to be very effective. When she closes a lesson, she usually follows it with a few slides of pictures pertaining to what they just learned and she will go over each one asking questions until the bell rings.
Some transitions that occur are usually a student asking to go to the bathroom, a change of lesson plans, or somebody coming into the classroom for something. There are no rules on how many times a student can go to the bathroom. If my mentor feels it is getting out of hand, she simply says no more bathroom breaks and/or she’ll threaten a limit on it for the future; this usually deters the students from asking. There is a time set for bathroom breaks — she will not allow the students to go to the bathroom the last ten minutes of class. For transitioning between lessons, my mentor will have the students put away what they are working with completely before moving on. If a student complains he or she is not finished, my mentor simply assures them they will have time later; this simple suggestion also seems to be effective. If the class is interrupted by somebody coming in, my mentor always makes sure whatever is being said or done by a student in the classroom is finished before attending to the person at the door; she doesn’t ever interrupt a student in the class.
There are so many strategies I have observed from my mentor that I don’t have time or room to name them all, so I will just name a few I really like. For instance, I like the no bathroom rule 10 minutes before class. I also like that my mentor’s classroom is very organized and she has a spot for everything and it never changes; this way she can quickly and easily find something and so can the students. I like that she has a separate area in the classroom for student’s to go when they need extra space to work or want to get away from their table for a bit; sometimes a student is having a bad day and it may help if they had a spot to get away from the “noise’ occasionally. I will probably try to do the same in my classroom. The last strategy I will discuss that I like is that my mentor color coordinates handout sheets for each course she teaches; this way she can see immediately which lesson is for which class without having to strain her eyes reading what’s on the paper and it saves a few seconds as well; this is good for time-management!