Blog 6


(Vika, one of my 5th form students from Bilovod I-III School, Bilovod, Sumska Oblast, Ukraine)

At the end of the semester, I reflected on this class and what my classroom management strategies would be. Personally, my strategy would be to lay down the foundations from the beginning of the semester for a solid semester, starting with laying out the class rules and procedures for the students. I would make it clear to the students what is expected of them. I learned the hard way that if you do not have clear rules & procedures, but instead vague “guidelines”, it means that there will undoubtedly be arguments between the teacher and the students when they misbehave and don’t know it until the teacher yells at them (Yes, this happened in my Peace Corps days. A bonus blog post on my experiences in a Ukrainian public school is coming soon). I would also have a syllabus ready so that the students could see what their course will look like and how to prepare for it.
As for everyday classroom management, it depends on the age range and subject of the class. I have observed in some Fairbanks classrooms that teachers may have very strict policies towards assignment due dates, whereas others, especially in a class that lots of worksheets and handouts are used, may have no clear due dates except for a week before finals. I would choose something in the middle, as I understand that students may have other tasks and responsibilities in their lives and would probably grant them some leeway in the matter.

Overall, I would strive to make my classroom friendly and approachable to the students. I would have a lot of materials available online for the students to view in their own time, and post assignments online as well. One teacher used this to great effect in his classes, since his students spent much of their free time online and he had to communicate with them “in their preferred medium”.

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