I was talking to a group of teachers at the California AEYC Conference about children needing security when coming into the classroom. It was freshly on my mind because I had told my student teachers the same thing. We owe it to the children in our classrooms to have a consistent classroom management plan and expectations. When a child crosses the threshold into the classroom each day, she should feel the security of knowing exactly what to expect for the day. We may think that a challenging child wants to be out of control, but that is not the case. Each child wants to know what is expected and to feel the security of that knowledge.
Our society is so unpredictable right now. As my student teachers work with an at-risk child, I remind them that the school day may be the only dependable part of of that child’s day. He may not know what will happen when he leaves school. BUT, for the hours he is in the classroom, he should have the security of knowing exactly what will happen. When a teacher is inconsistent in classroom expectations and consequences, it throws that security off balance. That lack of balance actually creates more negative behaviors. When a teacher says to me, “I just can get the class (or child) under control,” my first thought is that she has given up and doesn’t want to make the effort to continue to search for something that will work.
One thing I want my student teachers to do when they become the only teacher in the classroom is to maintain good classroom procedures and be consistent in their consequences and rewards. Not only will that curtail negative behaviors, it will also provide the warm security blanket each child needs while at school.