The One Thing You Need to Change Your Classroom…

Copyright 2020 The Educator’s Light
My Classroom in 2014

Are you tired of classroom chaos? You teach but no one listens? The students run into the room like maniacs. They scream in the hallway. You ask your students 20 times to do one task? Did you think teaching would be easier than this? Do you have a great curriculum but feel like it is going nowhere? Are you about ready to walk out of the profession? What is the one thing you need to change your classroom? BRACE YOURSELF. Are you ready? Drum roll…(How do you like my commercial introduction so far?)


“Wait. What?”

I SAID clear expectations. Expectations from entering the room to dismissal and in between. Expectations about grades to behavior. This is not saying your students will always be perfect–we teach kids, not robots. What this is saying lends to why it feels like your class is in constant chaos.

Yes, you will have to reiterate clear expectations over and over again. However, it sure beats not having any clear expectations at all. Yikes.

Here a few expectations you should have:

1.Behavior/Citizenship. This is number one. A list of rules is not bad but I always put the expectations. Bland rules sound more like “don’t do this, don’t do that, no, no, no.” They tend to go in one ear and out the other. Expectations lean more towards, ” you are mature, you can handle this, and this is what is expected or there will be consequences. Follow the expectations and there will be great incentives and rewards. I always love to stress the importance of character “who you are when you think noone is watching and how they should not only treat me and other adults, but also each other.

2. Grades. You do not need a 6 page syllabus describing a grade policy. If it’s for students, it needs to be simple to understand and clear. The same goes for communicating with parents. I personally have never been an advocate for difficult grading policies. Keeping it simple will also save you much distress down the road.

Every teacher’s struggle. Copyright 2020 The Educator’s Light

3. Procedures/Transition. One day soon, I plan on outlining different procedures in my class to share. I love to teach students responsibility and one way I do that is through an ELA council. It gives kids who otherwise would not have a shot at leadership a chance to run in a class election. This is so much less intimidating for kids than running for a schoolwide student council. The ELA council helps carry out some of the procedures and they love ownership and responsibility of helping their classmates (of course I am the overseer).

Some procedures include:

How to distribute and handle technology.

How to reaarange desks for different types of lessons.

How to enter the room.

How to line up to leave.

Where to put backpacks.

Cellphones (most schools require that cellphones be shutoff completely).

How to pass out text books.

Where to turn in assignments.

How to keep the class library clean.

How to take care of the room.

How to greet visitors.

Where to hang coats.

How to treat the supply bins.

How to work in groups/independently/in pairs.

Walking to and from the cafeteria.

The quality of work they turn in.

Depending on your individual class needs, there may be more! That’s okay!

How work should be turned in. It’s okay for them to make mistakes! However, I will accept nothing less than their best. Not pictured is a poster behind the bins that highlights what should be on their paper when they turn it in.
Copyright 2020 The Educator’s Light

When you set clear expectations, learning takes place and character gets stronger. Remember, behavior, grades, and procedures are three pillars of classroom expectations.

If you feel you “blew it” this year and started to let things slide, do not fret. Take a class period to go back over or create new expectations as soon as possible and most importantly, for clear expectations to work effectively, you have to be consistent. Don’t forget to add praise and incentives when they do a job well done on the expectations.

So yes, even though it is mutiple layers, it all leads back to one factor–clear expectations.

Kia ‘)

Copyright 2020 The Educator’s Light

This is my classroom six years ago. I have evolved especially in the classroom set up arena. My lights are more dramatic now with more lamps and even indoor/outdoor patio lights. That’s just me and it can vary depending on the room and group of students I have. I always advise DO YOU and what works for you and your kids!
Copyright 2020 The Educator’s Light

What are some unique ways you set expectations in your class? Share/comment below!

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