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Through my coursework at The College of William and Mary and my practicum placement and student teaching experience, I have developed my own beliefs on what is needed to properly manage a classroom to most effectively meet the needs of my students. Some of these ideas I was able to apply, while others I have seen applied in other classroom settings or believe that they will be effective methods. What follows is a summary of many of my ideas about management as well as some of the experiences I have had. I hope to paint an image of the classroom that I hope to create as an educator.

· Use effective routines and procedures, and maintain effective and efficient use of time
There is only so much time allotted to teaching during a school day. Sadly, much of that time can be eaten away from learning if the classroom functioning is not efficient and effectively managed. To keep my classroom running as effectively as possible, I believe in establishing classroom routines and procedures with my students. Before beginning with my new class, I will already have planned out the different routines which I wish to put into place. In the first several weeks of school, I will work with my students to establish these routines so that they are aware of what is expected of them to allow for a more smooth and efficient use of time in the classroom. Initially, I will demonstrate the routine I want followed. As I perform the actions I want from my students, I will “think-aloud” so that it is clear what I am looking to see happen. Once I have demonstrated, I plan on asking a few students to take turns following the procedure as their classmates watch. Once this guided practice has been completed, I will ask all of my students to make an attempt at walking through the procedure. Since this cannot be a one-time learning experience, I will continue to remind and guide my students about the procedures over the first several weeks of school. I trust that they will become accustomed to the various routines of the classroom and will not need much guidance from me after a certain point.

In my student teaching placement, I followed the established routines of the classroom so that my students were able to continue in their normal routines, but I also added my own routines to part of the day. Particularly, I made calendar time a normal part of our day. Many times my cooperating teacher would begin teaching without covering the calendar. After taking over instruction, I made the transition from morning table into calendar time, into a quick money review, and then on to science/social studies followed by language arts. I keep established places in the room where I begin instruction for these sections of the day, so my student always knew where to expect to move. Below you will see an image of our calendar activities for the month of March, featuring a Lion vs. Lamb chart which I drew to incorporate even more math into our mornings.

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There are several different kinds of routines which should be considered in a classroom to help the room run efficiently. Classroom running routines, if lacking, are a place where a great deal of learning time can be lost. One way in which I hope to counter the inefficient use of classroom time for these sorts of routines is to have specific jobs assigned to students. As described above, all students would learn how to perform these tasks because the jobs would change every week, allowing all students to participate and have responsibility. An example of these sorts of jobs would be line leader and door holder. These individuals, as well as the rest of the class, would understand their function and would make lining up to move from the classroom a more fluid process. In my practicum, I had a weekly door holder and a line leader who were switched among the students so that everyone had a turn. Other jobs would include more housekeeping sorts of positions, such as students responsible for watering class plants or stacking chairs at the end of the day if the age of the students is appropriate for that sort of task.

Another classroom running routine which I plan on incorporating into my future classroom is to have students take care of some administrative duties. Specifically, I think a system in which students mark their own attendance and lunch plans on an easily accessed display allows me to be taking care of other classroom needs instead of trying to seek out every student. My students will also know that there will always be work they are to do in the morning once they have come into the classroom and fulfilled their attendance and lunch marking obligations. An additionally important classroom running routine is the use of the bathroom. I have seen many different approaches to this routine, but one I especially like and feel will be useful is to have a bathroom pass as well as a bathroom desk pass. When the student leaves for the bathroom, she leaves one pass on her desk and takes the other with her to the bathroom. This allows me to limit the number of students using the bathroom at once as well as showing me immediately who is out of the room.

One classroom running routine which I have found especially useful to me during my student teaching has been what I have titled "Picking the Pumpkin's Brain." When I first took over student teaching, it found it very hard to remember to whom I had given a chance to participate and whom I had not. I knew that I was calling on some students more often than others, either because I felt that I really needed to check their learning or because they wanted to participate eagerly. However, there were some times when I wanted to give everyone a chance for an activity or throughout several activities. To accomplish this easily for myself and make the process almost game-like to my students, I put each of their names on a popsicle stick which was then decorated with star stickers. I put each stick with the name unable to be seen downward in a very silly looking jack-o-lantern shaped mug. I would tell the children, "I wonder who will go next. Let's pick the pumpkin's brain to find out!" They adored getting their turns this way, and if they were behaving well, I would let one student pick the pumpkin's brain to choose the next student. As each student was called, I kept their popsicle stick to the side, which allowed me to keep track of everyone having a turn. Of course, I did not always use this system and I still questioned students using my own good judgment, but it definitely helped me to stay more organized. This is an image of my "Pumpkin Brain" system.
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Another set of procedures which are important to the proper running of a classroom are lesson-running routines and homework procedures. In order to make submitting homework as simple as possible for my kindergarteners in my student teaching, I had a basket specifically set up for collecting homework. I would have the same sort of arrangement if I was teaching older grades as well. In the future, if I want to review an assignment with my students before beginning a lesson, that information will be listed on the board for their easy reference. That way they can hand in the work that will not be directly reviewed during class that day and keep what is needed. This also creates a sense of accountability for doing the homework because they will not know what work will be immediately reviewed and which will be handed in for my later review. Additional lesson-running procedures I will have in my classroom will again be discussed with my students throughout the beginning of the school year, such as when they should use a pen or what to do when they complete an assignment. Other tasks which are specific to the day, such as what page to turn to in their textbooks or what materials they will need, will be listed on the board where they anticipate such information to be displayed.

I also believe that routines governing interactions among students are essential to a smoothly running classroom. If my students do not know when, how, or how much they are allowed to interact during certain activities or lessons, then they may end up communicating with each other too much or not enough. In either case, this can impede their learning. I feel that there are many ways in which students can interact with me and with their peers, and that various signals help to convey what is appropriate. I like the idea of using written and visual signs to signal and remind students of what is expected at the moment. Sometimes I may want students to raise their hands to be recognized, while other times a choral response will be appropriate. Sometimes they may be allowed to work with their neighbors and seek help, while other times they may be required to work independently. I feel having a displayed representation of this behavior helps students know what is expected of them. When it comes to signaling students that I need their attention while they are working, I like the idea of using clapping in a pattern, which students repeat back to me. Even if all students do not repeat the first time, I generally believe that they will notice for the second time. However, I would not implement an audible signal for my students to gain my attention while I am busy, for example, working with a small group. I will teach my students to “Ask three, then ask me,” meaning that if they have a question about an assignment or what they are supposed to be doing, they can ask three friends. If they are still stuck at that point, they can signal to me that they need help by raising their hands. In my kindergarten placement, I used a system similar to this for morning lunch count in which students who were not listening while the choice were announced were required to ask a friend what the choices are.

Transitions are where even well-behaved and responsible students can find themselves getting into trouble. This is due to the fact that transitions without routines leave the students without structure and result in them filling the time however they see fit. I see this as being especially true among students in early elementary grade levels. One way that I feel is very effective to use when transitioning students is to use music. I have seen how effectively a certain song consistently used to signal the transition from one subject to another can be. The students all hear the music and then know that they only have a certain amount of time remaining to complete their work and get prepared for the next scheduled activity. I also like the idea of using physical activities in transitions, such as having students do ten jumping jacks before sitting in their seats after returning to the classroom. This allows students to get out a bit of energy, provides them with a procedure to follow, and allows me a few moments to get in place for the next part of my planned learning activities. I have done both of these sorts of activities with the kindergartners in my student teaching experience. Where I have found it to be most effective is when moving the students from science/social studies into language arts. There are other breaks during the day for everything else, but these subjects go directly from one to the next. I have found that giving them this transition time has helped them to be able to stay focused longer.

In today’s integrated classrooms, students of varying ability levels are mixed together so that all students can benefit from learning along side their peers in a general education setting. However, many students still require additional services, which means that there will be times students must transition in and out of my classroom to go to and from their various services within the school. To accommodate these students, I would choose to keep their seating close to the classroom door so that they are able to leave my general classroom without drawing much attention to their transition. I would also work with the student to create some sort of small gesture which I could use as a reminder to signal the student to prepare for his transition without disrupting the flow of the rest of the class or lesson.

· Organize a classroom for effective instruction through appropriate physical arrangement and grouping of students for optimal learning and safe movement around the classroom
Without proper classroom organization, management, and discipline, even the most creative and engaging lessons can, and generally will, fail terribly, which results in nothing more than a lack of student learning and teacher frustration. This makes the “behind the scenes” planning of an educator just as important as the formal lessons presented in the classroom.

To begin creating an environment in which students can genuinely learn and grow to the best of their individual abilities, it is necessary that a teacher arrange the physical environment of her classroom for maximum effectiveness for all students. The physical environment of a classroom must not only be arranged for reducing distractions while promoting interest in learning, it must also be a space in which students can feel secure and comfortable. The classroom arrangement of my student teaching placement was not exactly as I would have arranged it. Some of the challenges of the classroom included tight spaces through which students and teachers needed to pass to travel around the room, cubbies and filing cabinets blocking the view of large areas of the classroom, and the cramped feeling of work and play space in the classroom. Although I was not able to re-arrange the layout of this classroom, I would have tried an arrangement the setting by eliminating a number of extra cubbies in the room, reorganizing the locations of filling cabinets by preferably removing them from the classroom space into the classroom closet, and placing the teacher's desk more off to the side of the room than directly in the middle. This would allow for me to have full visual reference of the room and allow students to travel around more freely in the space.

To promote the physical and psychological security of my students, I will organize my classroom to allow access to materials students will need, such as a classroom library of books, extra pencils, paper, and other supplies. I believe that labeling such items and where they go help the students know what is expected of them in the environment as well as encouraging literacy for younger children. In addition to using English labels, I will include images and translations into other languages commonly used among my students. Also important to the physical safety of the classroom is taking into consideration special physical needs of students. For instance, before designing the desk layout for my room, I would learn which of my students might have assistive tools such as crutches or a wheelchair. I would make sure to arrange the space in my classroom so that these students could not just move safely around the learning space but freely and comfortably.

Equally important is that students have a space that is psychologically secure for their learning. When an environment seems too sterile, harsh, or uninviting, it makes it much more difficult for students to learn. This is why I would try to introduce several elements into my classroom that will make students comfortable. For instance, I would incorporate soft elements into the classroom, such as pillows, beanbags, and even a loveseat or couch if it could possibly fit in the space. A sanitary setting is also important, so I would make sure that all of these elements would have coverings, which will be washed regularly. In addition to soft elements, I would want my students to have the comfort of life around them through the inclusion of plants around the classroom and a variety of small animal life. I like the idea of encouraging students to learn through the care and observation of another living creature, if that is allowed within the school system.

Elements in the classroom are not the only way in which I will seek to meet my students’ needs for psychological security. Not all students can have their needs met by the same environment, so I would try to create spaces in my room where students who need a more private setting, such as students with ADHD, could more easily focus or calm down. Of course, no student will ever be out of my line of sight, but this would at least allow students who needed some sense of privacy to have it within the classroom, thus making them feel secure.

When I envision the arrangement of desks in my classroom, I try to consider what will best serve the learning I plan on implementing, which will have a strong basis on the grade level and curriculum that I will be teaching. I feel that structured collaboration among students can be extremely beneficial to student learning in any subject. For instance, if I teaching a kindergarten class, I want to have groups of desks or tables at which I can have students work in small groups with me and with their peers. Similarly, I would want to make desks grouped so students could collaborate and work together in older grades for subjects such as science and mathematics. An important aspect to remember about this sort of grouping is to make sure that all students are able to see me when I am teaching, demonstrating, modeling, etc, so I would arrange the desks in such a way that no students have their backs to me. However, not all lessons match with this sort of arrangement, so I would remain flexible enough to be able to change desk configurations if necessary. At no time would I completely isolate any student, unless this sort of arrangement benefited a student and promoted his learning, and I would be certain to make the arrangement promote easy travel around the classroom for both my students and myself.

I also believe that a classroom should be unique and reflect the individual students who populate it. To accomplish this, I will make sure to personalize the classroom decorations. These decorations will include, but not be limited to, art created by the students, student work reflected in projects/posters, samples of writing and other academic work, and various materials that reflect the cultural background of my students. Below are some images of different ways I incorporated the work of my students in my student teaching experience into the classroom environment, which includes out pinwheels, windsocks, plant collages, and spring writing pages.
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I will also incorporate materials from cultures outside of those which below to my student population; I feel that all students can benefit from a varied exposure to cultures.

Through all the design and arrangement of my classroom environment, I would be seeking to encourage the feelings of pleasure and growth in my students. If students find pleasure in their classroom, they are more likely to work and stay on task. I would try to create a sense of growth in the classroom through making an environment in which students feel free to explore and are not constantly working within strict limitations. The classroom I wish to create will foster their sense of investigation and discovery as they are learning.

· Develop and use a classroom management plan that provides clear expectations of student behavior, including appropriate responses to inappropriate student behavior.
As I have studied in my many education courses at the College of William and Mary, I have learned about a variety of discipline theories. When considering my own expectations for classroom behavior, I would gauge myself as being a “medium-control” educator. I believe that being too strict with students will shut them down from school, knowledge, and me as their teacher. Conversely, I believe that giving students too much freedom leaves them lacking a sense of order and stability in the classroom, which can lead to chaotic behavior and a plethora of management problems.

I find that my personal views on discipline are closely related to Positive Discipline because I believe that consequences should be natural and logically connected to a particular act of misbehavior. However, I believe it is extremely important that I understand why my student is acting out. Perhaps she is struggling or maybe not challenged enough; maybe the student is having some sort of physical need unmet, such as being unable to see the board or properly hear the lesson. I know that I need to make the consequences match the student. For instance, if a student wants to be sat alone away from the group, he may act out in order to gain that “consequence” which has entirely lost its effectiveness.

I also believe that a mutual sense of respect among teachers and students is vital, which also relates to the way in which I plan on establishing my classroom rules. When my students first begin in my classroom, I will not already have a posted set or rules. Instead, I will tell my students that I want them to work together with me to create our classroom rules as a group, and will ask my students what they think are appropriate rules. I will not make a judgment about any rule as it is said; I will simply add it to our class list. Once my students have finished generating their ideas, I would work with them to find ways to combine several rules into one, positively stated idea, such as, “Always do your best work.” In my medium control fashion, I would be seeking to guide my students to establishing a small set of excellent classroom rules. I would have a pre-established idea of what kinds of rules should be in place, which I would base on the grade level I was teaching as well as the students. I would have some definite topics which I would want to have rules about, such as safety. I would have students help develop a rule about walking in the classroom by asking them things such as, “What could happen if someone runs inside the classroom or in the hallways?... Do those sound like they are very safe? What could we do be safer when we are in the school?” I would then take the rules we developed together and hold a class vote for a favorite theme. In my practicum placement, my cooperating teacher already had some rules established, but they were not visually displayed. Therefore, I took the common classroom favorite character, Spongebob, and developed several of these posted rule signs as pictured below.
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Likewise, I would involve my students in creating a discipline plan which would be used to enforce the rules which we formulated together. To allow my students to have a positive experience in the classroom, I would provide them with ways to remain in a good standing in the classroom. I think that students can benefit from a visual representation of warnings. Specifically, I like the idea of using a card system; all students start at green, which is at a good behavior level. If students are warned about behavior more than twice, then would need to flip their card to yellow, which would signify a serious warning about misbehavior. If there continued to be an issue, the student’s card would be turned to red, and a pre-established procedure would be followed, such as sending a note home to a parent/guardian. I hope to personalize this system to the students which I have, making the cards something more interesting and motivating for them, but for now this is the basic plan. This allows me to be consistent as a teacher but also shows students that there is a process that is followed.

In my student teaching placement, I was not able to implement the card system exactly as I would have liked, but I worked with my cooperating teacher to implement a similar system using a traffic light chart. My cooperating teacher decided originally that students would have three warnings before moving their own little stick person to the next color level; green to yellow to red. Each day the students's colors would be recorded on a Weekly Behavior Chart and any student who had all greens at the end of the week would be allowed to have lunch in our classroom and get a special treat. Unfortunately, this part of the plan was only done once, so students who had all greens were not getting lunch in the classroom. I additionally felt this plan was flawed because it immediately eliminated any student who had only one tough day from getting a reward. Therefore, I came up with my own system for the chart. To allow for students and all teachers in the room to visually see that a student is on their third and final warning before moving their person up to the next level, I started having the students place their person in the middle pocket. (Please see photographs below.) This made a stronger impression for the children and allowed all three teacher in the room (my cooperating teacher, our classroom paraprofessional, and myself) to see if another teacher had already warned a student about his or her behavior. Finally, I also changed the reward system. I think that any child should have some kind of recognition for having even just one good day. Therefore, I began allowing student to choose from my large selection of stickers at the end of the week. For every green day they had on their chart, they got to choose one sticker among Hanna Montana, High School Musical, Spongebob, Kung Fu Panda, and about 15 other different choices. Thus a student who had five green days got five stickers while a student who only had two green days got two stickers. There was no reward for red or yellow days. And although I did not do this with my student teaching classroom, I think I might establish in my own room that a red day would take away a green day, which would establish that reds are much more negative than a yellow. Below is a photograph of two of my students after receiving their stickers and our traffic light behavior chart.

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However, I want my future classroom to be anchored in positive reinforcement rather than punishment, so I would allow my students to earn changing their cards back to green if they are able to alter their behavior in a positive way. Although I do not agree with punishing a whole class for the behavior of a few students, I have seen that rewarding a class for the communal positive behavior can be very motivating to students. I like the idea of “catching students being good” and keeping track of that in some way, such as collecting marbles in a jar. The class could earn extra marbles for everyone having a great day behaviorally. Once the jar is full, the students could choose an extra treat, such as a special activity to play at recess or class snack that all students enjoy and are approved by the parents. I do not feel that rewards should take away from classroom learning time, such as watching a movie instead of having a lesson or skipping a test, but I feel that something extra added to other activities can be just as motivating.

In every classroom, there are varying levels of severity in misbehavior, and I feel that every educator should know that not all behavior requires the same response. For minor misbehavior in the classroom, I feel that being as unobtrusive as possible is extremely important, especially when working with younger elementary students. They are so easily distracted and just beginning to learn how to work in school that making a big scene over every little thing will only result in the entire class misbehaving. My first step in initially addressing this sort of behavior would be to try to draw attention to students who are behaving well. For example, “I love how well Annie is sitting kindergarten style and listening. She will really know what we are learning about today.” This gives the misbehaving student(s) a chance to catch on. However, if the child is daydreaming or socializing during instruction, I might direct a question to that student, or tell them that I will be asking them something next so it is not putting them on the spot completely. But if the behavior continues, I would turn to using silence and “the look.” I additionally believe that peers can have an influential effect on their classmates, so I might say something like, “We cannot do any more learning or move on to having our choice time until all of our friends are paying attention.” I have found that these sorts of statements prompt students to remind their classmates to follow the rules, which is a rather quick intervention.

I-messages are also very useful and important. I have heard you-messages, and they seem harsh to me. So instance, I have heard, “(Child’s name), you are the only one making a weird noise. Do you hear anyone else?” I feel a better way of handling the child making verbal noises would have been, “When people make noises, it distracts me and others and I get frustrated.” But when it comes down to having already reminded a student about the rules or given a specific direction about a behavior and they are still misbehaving, I feel it is appropriate to present the student with choices of behaving or having a penalty. The most important part of this, I feel, is not debating the choice with the student. I have a child in my student teaching classroom who is particularly defiant and oppositional; a problem in all school settings and his home. When given a simple direction, he will defy it. I have practiced approaching this child with a choice, and when he has tried to argue against either, I do not debate him, remain calm and quiet, and remind him of his choices.

When misbehavior becomes more serious, different actions must be taken. I believe that there should be consequences for behavior, but the most important part of using consequences is that they should be logically connected with the misbehavior. For instance, when I was working with a rather difficult 4-year-old in a daycare setting, he got mad that he could not be the first one to go on the computer and threw a stack of paper towels on the floor. His behavior was a consistent problem, so strict reinforcement of rules was necessary. I simply told him that he could not play anything until he picked up the paper towels. If I had told him to go sit with his head down, it would have resulted in a disconnected penalty and I would have given more power to him by cleaning up his mess for him.

From the background I have had in behavioral psychology, I have come to believe that negative punishment, or the removal of a privilege, is a very effective form of penalty. Doing things like yelling cannot properly address the issue. But if the child temporarily loses something which is meaningful to them, they are much less likely to repeat the behavior that resulted in that loss. However, I do not like the idea of “time out” very much, especially during instruction. I feel that it takes the student out of the learning environment and can cause greater distraction to the other students. I feel it might sometimes be necessary, but I would rather keep the student in the learning environment while providing a system of warnings before they lose a privilege to give them a chance to correct themselves, and I would definitely strive to be consistent.

I do not think punishing the entire class for one or two students’ misbehavior is appropriate. This can cause major social issues in the classroom. I remember being punished as part of a group, and it made me have a deep sense of annoyance and resentment toward my classmates who caused me to be punished through no fault of my own. I do not want these negative feelings in my classroom, so I would be sure to focus my management and have enough “with-it-ness” about me to know whom I need address.

No matter how well-managed a classroom might be, there may sometimes be a student or multiple students with chronic behavior issues. In these cases, I can definitely imagine using a self-monitoring system for these students. If I were to use self-monitoring, I think I might initially try it with a small timer to help the student pay attention to their behavior more regularly. If the problem is that they cannot focus, giving them something else to keep in mind to do would not be very useful! However, once the student is accustomed to monitoring his own behavior, I think the timer could be faded out so that he is monitoring his behavior on his own. Hopefully, he will get to the point where his behavior is appropriate and no longer needs to monitor.

I have seen contingency contracts work, so I would definitely use them. I have been part of the implementation of this sort of intervention before, and I have found that if the reward is truly meaningful to the child, they will work very hard to earn it. But I also know that the reward must remain important. For example, if the initial reward is to earn a special movie, that same movie will not be good motivation later. Likewise, if the student grows out of her interest in the agreed-upon reward it becomes meaningless. Therefore, I would be sure to re-evaluate the reward with my student when it seemed like the system was no longer working. In extreme cases, the rewards would also need to be given more often at first, but I would slowly work to shape the behavior to have longer periods of time between rewards.

“Thorny problems” in the classroom are definitely a concern that I have. Having been in a kindergarten classroom, I have heard a lot of tattling during the day. When I have my own classroom, I will be very specific about when it is important to tell me something (meaning it is dangerous and/or needs my immediate attention) and when the students should really try to talk it out. I like the idea of teaching students to use I-messages with their fellow classmates to try to solve problems on their own. If tattling can be avoided, it can help save classroom time and the upset emotions which go along with tattling.

When considering cheating, I feel that it is important to establish with my students what is helping and what is cheating. For one, I do not think all teachers hold the same ideas about what is “helping,” so it is important that the students entering my classroom know my views. However, I also believe in trying to prevent cheating. I have seen some classroom teachers use two manila folders stabled together to create individual cubical set-ups for students during tests. I think this helps to keep students who might be tempted to look at their neighbor’s paper from getting the opportunity, thus helping to keep them out of trouble.

I think that it is likewise important to define “stealing” for children. Many parents might never think of explaining the topic to their kindergartner, and then the child enters school and steals without realizing it is wrong. Furthermore, some cultures have different views on ownership, so it is important to not just assume that students have the same ideas about stealing, even if they were to say they know what it is. I had to address a stealing situation during my student teaching placement. At the end of the school day as the class was sitting and waiting for the dismissal call, one student raised his hand an informed me he needed to tell me something important. In front of the entire class, he announced, "(Student's name) took magnets from the Discovery Center and put them in her backpack." I wanted to handle the situation very delicately because it was unfolding in front of the entire class. I asked the accused student if she had taken the magnets, which I could plainly see she had through her clear plastic backpack. She looked upset and shook her head. I calmly explained to her that if people in our classroom take things from school then we will not have anything to use here for our learning. Another student then called out, "And that's called stealing!" I told the class that taking something that does not below to you is called stealing, but that I felt the accused student now understands that she cannot take things that belong at school. I feel that I defused this situation well because none of the upset experienced by the class about the stealing was demonstrated at a later time

Profanity has not been a major issue in my classroom experiences so far. The children had not started with “potty language” yet, but I have seen it happen in other settings. But in today’s world, children are exposed to profanity through all sorts of different forms (parents, television, movies, internet, the public, etc), so it does show up in the classroom. I will explain to my students that I not use that sort of language in the school, so neither should they. I think instruction and discussion are important, but that there should be a set penalty which follows the schedule of warnings for such behavior.

I have not come across situations of sexually related behavior (self-touching or touching others) in my classroom so far, but if I did, I would handle it as discretely as possible. I would not want my student to be embarrassed or have others students either taught the child or possibly even copy the behavior. If it became a consistent issue, I would conference with the parents to see what they have seen, what they might be doing about it, and how I can carry that intervention over into my classroom.

I see not doing homework as a serious issue which needs planning and consideration. I cannot say that I have seen the issue handled beyond making the student complete the work during free time or recess, but these are not the best methods in my opinion. If neglecting to do homework became a wide-spread problem in my classroom, I would consider the amount of work I am giving and if I have explained the importance of the work. But if there is just a small number of students who consistently do not complete their work, I would talk with them as well as any other school-related coworkers who work with the child to conference about what can be done to help the student succeed. Perhaps they need to learn to use a planner more efficiently, or can be helped out by checking for assignments online at our classroom website. If the issue becomes long-standing, I would seek to involve parents in resolving the problem.

Although no one likes to consider violence in school, the reality is that the potential is there and should not be ignored. As a teacher, I will try to prevent violence within my classroom through several methods. First of all, my students will understand that although they may not like or agree with everyone they meet that all people are to be treated with the respect and dignity that they would hope for in return. As established in our classroom rules, students would know that things like bullying, name-calling, and harassing other students is not acceptable. However, I know that this alone will be unlikely to keep students from ever tormenting one another. I will have an open door policy for my students to be able to speak with me in private if they are having a problem in the classroom and try to head off any issues from there. I will also stay vigilant for any signs of hate or bigotry in my classroom and be sure to involve the proper authorities if the problem does arise.

For my students who are feeling upset or aggressive, I want to provide them with a way of calming themselves. Some students might need a few moments alone to sooth themselves, while others might want to write or draw about how they are feeling. Hopefully I can work with students to talk about their feelings with each other and resolve issues before they happen, but having outlets such as this may be what a student needs. If a student (or students) does get involved in a minor physical altercation (such as pushing another student), I would follow whatever policy my school has about student violence, but I would be sure to take the time to calmly discuss what happened with my student, why it happened, what else could have been done instead, and why the consequence for the behavior exists.

If violence occurs on a more severe level, I will again follow the policy of my school, but I will intervene as much as I can to resolve the problem. After determining the situation and sending a reliable student for help, I would verbally tell the students to “Stop!” in a forceful voice. Sometimes the mere shock of a normally calm voice can jolt students out of their actions. However, I know that may not be the case. The most important thing I can safely do is keep other children away from the dangerous situation. They are my responsibility and priority, so I will remove them from the situation. And as much as I might like to physically stop students from hurting one another, I realize that getting physically involved in an altercation among students could result in my own personal injury, encourage my other students to get physically involved, or could result in legal issues for myself as well as my school. Therefore, I would remain physically uninvolved in a student dispute.