Have you read my “about me” page? If so, you know that I had a really bad year about five years ago. I was AWFUL. That summer I did an insane amount of researching to make sure that it would never happen again… Enter: the best book about behavior management EVER.
How I got to this book:
When I say “research” I mean I sat on my computer and searched and searched for resources about classroom and behavior management. There were some blog posts, and there were some olllld college textbook type books but nothing really concrete. Just ideas. I did notice that a super old video of Ron Clark with Oprah kept popping up. (Do yourself a favor and watch that video if you haven’t… just the first 20 minutes is essential)
Of course I knew who Ron Clark was. He was a teacher that revolutionized a school and I know this because a few of my college professors had us watch the movie! (LOL!)
Little did I know, he was trying to revolutionize classrooms everywhere.
Eventually, I ended up watching the video (because it seriously popped up with every search). My jaw dropped because everything Ron Clark was saying was so true. He kept going on and on about manners and respect and how the entire attitude of his class changed. He mentioned that he was very firm about this and I knew I had to be too.
It ended with him showing off his new book:
I immediately bought it.
I was inspired in a way that I have never been inspired before. After reading the book I knew I was going to implement this same strategy and I was going to execute it well. I typed up all of Ron Clark’s rules that could be applied in my classroom (some weren’t as appropriate for a kinder classroom compared to the middle school classrooms that Ron Clark taught). These rules went right into my welcome packet for parents. I communicated to the parents that these were the rules I expected from my students and I expect them from the parents as well.
When Open House came around, I also mentioned this. I read aloud a few of the rules and told them they could read the rest on their own time. I am not going to lie: I was terrified and sweating while looking at their shocked faces… they were looking at me like I was crazy for demanding this. Scared, I let them know that if we all work together, the students will understand and we will have a great year.
And you know what? For the most part, the parents and I did work together on this and it worked out really well.
Great things happened
For the first few weeks, I was firm about these rules. I modeled them, and the students started to catch on. After school during pick-up, the parents modeled these good behaviors. If they didn’t, I reminded them of showing good manners (I know, my introverted self still doesn’t believe I did that… yikes). I never got flack for it and my behavior management was some of the best in the school.
One morning I had a parent come to me with tears in her eyes talking about the transformation her son had made. She had let me know that he was a rather…. difficult… child and she worked really hard with these rules as well. After about a month of very serious practice, she saw a change. That morning she told me that they had passed an old friend, the boy walked up to him, shook his hand and asked how he was doing. She said this boy went from being rude and defiant, to carrying on a conversation and not throwing a fit when he didn’t get his way.
It was that moment that I knew it is all about manners.
I continue to sing this book’s praises!
Whenever I talk to ANYONE (elementary, middle school, high school) about behavior management, I suggest buying this book. Not even suggest, I TELL them to buy this book.
I could tell any teacher that they need to teach manners but it doesn’t completely click until this book is read.
If you want to change the behavior in your class, you need this book.
Put the work in and it will pay off
The first few weeks in any classroom is really hard no matter what method you use. I don’t just suggest teaching manners, I pretty much demand it with teachers I work with on behavior management. If you have ANY plan going into the next school year, let it be MANNERS.
To make this work, you really need to spend at least the first few weeks really working on manners. Let’s be honest, some of these kids have never been told that they should be saying yes ma’am or no ma’am. Nor have they been told to shake hands with someone they just met.
Next step is to practice, practice, practice! This is one of those perfect times that practice makes perfect.
Once it really starts to click, you will be so proud and happy. I remember stepping back my first year implementing this and thinking this is the best class I have ever had.
People would send their students to my class when they had a student misbehaving so I could give them a mini lesson.
Thanks to my class being top-notch, I was nominated for teacher of the year.
What’s your next step?
Now I can keep going on and on but now it is up to you.
Bottom line is, if you are frustrated with the way behavior is in your classroom, you NEED to push manners this next year.
What do you think? Do you teach manners in your classroom? Have you read this book? Email me or chat with me in the comments!!!
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