There is an enemy to your classroom management.
It’s lurking outside your classroom, waiting for the opportunity to come inside. Its plan is to disrupt your lesson plan and ruin your day. It wants to keep your kids from learning and destroy your hopes for their future.
…and it’s waiting for you to open the door.
Who is this enemy?
Boredom is like a virus that infects the classroom. First it infects Johnny. You know Johnny. He’s the one most susceptible to the Boredom virus. Johnny is the one who makes you crazy. He’s the one who has been given consequence after consequence in hopes that he will do what he is supposed to do in your class, but nothing has changed. He is the first victim of the Boredom virus, and it begins to spread.
Next, Mary gets infected, then Robert, and pretty soon half the class is fighting the Boredom virus.
The only students who are not infected are the kids who have built up resistance to the virus. You know who they are. They’re the kids who will do whatever is asked of them without questioning. It could be total chaos in the classroom, but these students will be busy completing the worksheet, oblivious to the craziness going on around them. The Boredom virus has a more difficult time infecting them.
Like any virus, the natural response of our bodies is to fight back. Students who are infected with the Boredom virus, of course, will do whatever they can to not be bored. They’ll whisper something funny to their neighbor. They’ll daydream about something interesting instead of listening to you. They’ll doodle. They’ll make googly eyes at the pretty girl on the other side of the room.
They’re not doing this to attack you or to purposely make your life miserable.
They got the bug – the Boredom Bug, and they’re systems are fighting its effects.
Who let the virus in?
Yes, you are responsible for the infection spreading in your room.
I know that’s hard to accept, but it’s the truth.
It’s our responsibility as teachers to keep boredom from entering our classrooms.
Too many times, we get frustrated at our kids for not staying focused on the boring assignment or worksheet or lecture, and that’s not fair to the kids. We can’t blame the kids.
Amazing teachers understand that an engaged student is not a behavior problem.
Amazing teachers understand that they control the atmosphere in the classroom, not the kids, and one of the most important responsibilities of the teacher is to keep the Boredom virus out.
How do amazing teacher do this?
Here are five quick ways to keep boredom from entering the classroom:
1. Create lessons from scratch. Unless you’re making sub plans, worksheets and book work can lead to an outbreak of the boredom virus. Let your creative juices flow and think out of the box when designing your lesson plans. Take risks. Have fun. Some of your risky lessons will bomb, but at least your kids won’t be bored into bad behavior.
2. Get students moving. The days of students sitting in their chairs all period are gone. It’s OK to have them walk around the room as part of the lesson..
3. Ask “HMOY” questions. “How many of you…have had a bad day?” “How many of you…know what the answer is?” “How many of you…have ever been to a museum?”
4. Tell a friend. Have students collaborate with each other. “Talk to your partner for 1 minute about the paragraph. Agree on the most important sentence, and be ready to tell me what it is when I ask you.” Kids want to talk to each other instead of listening to you. Take advantage of that.
5. Chunk it Down. Create a lesson with a collection of short activities instead of a few long ones. Variety is the spice of life.
If you want to have amazing classroom management, you have to do everything you can to protect your kids from their number one enemy – boredom.
Until next time, here’s to your Success in the Classroom!