Navigating Classroom Management & Building Relationships with Students

It takes time to develop relationships with students, especially students who may have a lot of stuff going on which manifests as behavior issues. Unfortunately with student teaching I don’t have a lot of time. I had an easier time with my Art II students. They appeared more invested in the projects, but on closer examination the bulk of my Art I students were as well. The difference is the Art II students have mostly had prior experiences with art, materials at home to use, and the class sizes are smaller. I had many dedicated students in Art I, but a handful of students in each section of these classes created such distractions I was unable to develop close relationships with anyone in these classes.

I am looking forward to having my own classroom, and the opportunity to be with students for the school year. An example, I observed my cooperating teacher with one student I absolutely did not get along with. Whenever I talked to him he responded dismissively or confrontationally. He did little work, came in late, and often had peers do his work for him. My cooperating teacher had a great relationship with him. She knew how to push his buttons in a way that both made him laugh, and get to work. She also knew what to say and not say, and how to engage him one on one. I tried to do this in the beginning, but he was not having it. I can see from this experience and my other classes, it takes a lot of time and dedication to field situations like this.

Additionally, I need to set some hard cellphone boundaries. I would occasionally say ‘get off your phone’, but not follow up. In my next classroom, from the start, I need to lay that down, and stick to it. This is not just with cell phones. I understand now the importance of developing a classroom culture from the start, and ideally I would like to spend a few class periods on this. This goes both ways, student and teacher. Any rules I set for them, I need to follow myself. No cell phones for them, no cell phones for me! No peeking! I look forward and am scared for my upcoming job, and the opportunity to implement what I learned in student teaching.  

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