As the new year approaches and you start planning your year, be sure to keep setting up your classroom procedures and expectations at the top of your list. There are so many ELA standards to cover throughout the year, and every minute of class time is so important. By setting clear routines, procedures, and expectations at the start of the year, you are creating a classroom environment that will flow smoothly and help with time management. This way you can soak up every second of every class period.
5 Tips for Setting Procedures and Clear Expectations:
- Plan out how you imagine everything in your class rolling out and how you will teach the procedures you want to have in place on a daily basis. While planning, think about even the small things and plan for them. The small things don’t have to be introduced at the start of the year, but you will have a plan already made for when they do come up (trust me – they will come up). I have a free checklist of things to think about when setting up your expectations – Click HERE to access it for FREE.
- Practice – Practice – Practice! It is so easy to get in the mindset of saying something once and expecting it to stick, but, ummm hello, we teach middle schoolers. Think about the curriculum. Can you teach a new concept once and expect them to be able to ace a test over it? Nope. Teaching expectations works the same way. You have to reiterate the procedures and expectations until they learn it. The more you practice, the more they will do with them.
- Consistency is KEY! When teaching your expectations, you have to always be consistent. If you want students to always sharpen their pencils at the start of class, this expectation needs to be consistently followed. Also make sure you are being consistent among students – if you have an expectation, make sure you are having all students follow it. Inconsistency among students is something that will be quickly noticed and hard to forget – students recognize this and will immediately lose respect for you.
- Don’t assume students “just know” proper etiquette or what they should do in given situations. It’s so easy to think students “should know better”, but this is not always the case. If every teacher assumed that students knew the expectations, the students would never be taught them. We also know not every student is taught proper etiquette at home either, and that’s no fault of their own. If we are going to expect a certain behavior or procedure of our students, we need to make sure we are teaching it explicitly to them. That way we can 100% know the students “should know” what to do.
- Smile. I’m a firm believer that no one should follow the “don’t smile until after Christmas” myth. Building a strong rapport and mutual respect with the students has to start at the beginning of the year and grow from there. Focus on building those relationships with the students upfront. Smile and love what you do! Smiles and an enjoyment of the classroom are contagious to the students. They will react in a similar way. This will make teaching procedures and expectations much easier. As a matter of fact, it will make teaching ELA in general much easier. You will have the students’ buy-in.
Don’t let yourself get bogged down in having the perfect class because there will be times you want to pull your hair out. However, by being prepared and having a plan ahead of time, you are going to help minimize those instances. Your students will know the expectations and, therefore, be more prepared for all the AWESOME content you will be sharing with them.