In Chapter 1 of Laurie Boyd’s Beyond Classroom Management: Building Your Schoolwide Discipline System, the author recaps her own journey from classroom management pushover to reigning queen of routines.
In this way, her origin story is similar to those told in other classroom management memoir/how-to books (Gary Rubinstein’s Reluctant Disciplinarianc comes to mind). She hits on a few key points in this section regarding how she tamed a class that had ousted three teachers in a row prior to her arrival:
- getting to know students by name and using students’ names often
- “narrating” her own inner monologue regarding her management system (she dubs this “calling the game”)
- using art activities to enable students to feel ownership over the room
- explicit review of classroom rules and routines using a memorization activity
- a “fake it till you make it” approach to “acting like a disciplinarian” in order to become one
- creating a clear consequence system and implementing it consistently with no exceptions
Boyd’s book isn’t about classroom-level behavior management, so I didn’t go into this chapter expecting or looking for a comprehensive system. One could quibble around the edges of the system she lays out here, but overall, her classroom-level approach was a sound one.
This line interested me more than any of the details of her classroom management success story:
I learned to enjoy student discipline as much or more than teaching my subject area.
This will seem a strange thing to tout. Imagine two teachers in a job interview. One says, “My favorite part of teaching is seeing students develop self-control and self-discipline” and the other says “My favorite part of teaching is seeing students fall in love with literature.” We’d probably all naturally gravitate toward the second teacher. The first response just sounds kind of odd, right? But if I were making the hiring decision, I wouldn’t be so quick to jump to that conclusion now.
Overall, chapter 1 is an obligatory laying out of Boyd’s personal bona fides in the area of classroom management. But I’ve read a lot of classroom-level books that cover the same ground–let’s move on to chapter 2 to get to the schoolwide approach.