Last term, I noticed a gradual deterioration in behaviour in library sessions. I wondered if the students were feeling less engaged with me because I’ve been studying and so not doing as much CRT work. They really only see me one day a week now, unless I stop by the classrooms on the other day I work or if they come into the library during breaks or after school. So I’m still looking at classroom management ideas especially for transition times.
One day a week our school has Specialists day — named Swap Around Day by the kids. After lunch, the students rotate every 40 minutes between music, library, and sport. As you can imagine by the time the next group arrives at the library, they are hot, tired or revved up from whatever the previous activity has been. It’s been taking too long to settle into lesson/program I’ve planned and with only a 40 minute time slot, I don’t want to waste anymore of it than necessary.
I watched this video from Edutopia the other week, was impressed by the maths teacher’s idea of shaking hands and reviewing ideas with students as they come in to class. I tried something similar at my last library session of the term and while the children had a few surprised looks on their faces, it worked very well. We didn’t review anything, just politely greeted each with a smile, handshake and a ‘nice to see you, how are you’. This really seems to stop all the silliness at the door and the personal contact including eye contact seemed to lessen inappropriate behaviours once through the door. I’ll be interested to see how this goes long-term. I will begin to use it as a time to review cybersafety rules etc. once we settle into this term.
What I know or think I know about organisational theory and strategic planning.
There is a big difference between theory and practice. I’ve been to lots of planning meetings, visioning meetings and been involved in SWOT analyses. Lots of them went no farther than that. Without a plan of action, responsible particpants and regular review/followup, it really accomplishes nothing and in fact can be very demoralizing. Hearing moans of “Nothing ever changes” can become a real downer!
One person can’t do it all — I need to constantly remind myself of this. I can tend to try to take on too much myself. Nothing changes if only one person actively wants it. Accept that change is a slow moving beast.
Proactive is waaaay better than reactive. Being proactive means having strategies in place before crises happen. Policies are one of the proactive measures I’ve begun to put in place at our school library. I’ve watched way too many issues handled at school reactively. There is no time to think clearly, decisions are made emotionally instead of rationally, and the whole situation can generate a lot of ill-will. Essentially ends up being about damage control.
Reading Stephen Covey I learned the difference between urgency and importance and began to mentally apply his time management matrix whenever someone asks me to do something. It helps me to say “No” with a lot less guilt. “I’m not a fireman”, I think to myself. It really works!
Evaluation of plans and strategies is something I’ve not had much experience with. People often think of evaluation as negative but if you’ve been working hard to do your best and have a plan perhaps evaluation can give one a feeling of accomplishment.