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Classroom Management: Teachers Fill Their Toolboxes by Sharing Strategies

Four-year Highpoint School teacher Craig Perry considers himself an organized teacher who runs a tight ship in terms of behavior management. Yet he knows he can always use help building his classroom management toolbox. He enrolled in Harris County Department of Education’s Classroom Management class provided through Teaching and learning Center Curriculum Director for Special Populations Brenda Arteaga. When working with teens, he believes in sharing strategies: what works and doesn’t. “It’s very important to give kids the right tools to focus,” said Perry, who teaches students in a self-paced computer lab where they earn high school credits online. Students transitioning to Harris County Department of Education’s Highpoint, then back to their home schools, are either adjudicated teens or troubled youth. “Kids might be coming into my classroom with some real problems,” he said. “Where they are coming from can affect what is happening in the classroom.” Arteaga, who is seasoned in classroom management strategies, agrees wholeheartedly. As a former teacher, principal and superintendent, she has a stockpile of human relations experiences. “All teachers need a refresher and new ideas for classroom management,” she said. Arteaga trains teachers using the STOIC model. Structure and organize your room for success. Teaching expectations and rules/norms. Observe and monitor. Interact Positively. Correct misbehavior fluently. She says a common complaint from teachers is disrespect from their students. “One of the tools that we utilized in the training is a social contract or agreement which focuses on values and how you want to be treated in the classroom,” she said. “After discussing those values and writing them down, everyone signs the document. It is a way to level out the playing field and make it equitable for everyone.” In addition to the social contract, Arteaga has these tips for teachers: • Build positive relationships with your students. • Let students know that you care about them and are interested in who they are as a person. • Have high expectations for every student. • Communicate in a positive way, without tone or elevated pitches and voice. • Consistency is key. Ensure that behaviors and consequences math for all students. For more information about upcoming workshops, go to Source: HCDE