Game Plan

September 11, 2009
Open book in a classroom setting

So…you are well into the new school year and things may not have turned out like you had planned. Classroom management turned out to be more difficult than you thought. It’s not difficult to get off-task and let priorities slide. Sometimes other goals outshine our original ones and we forget what we had started. It’s time to regroup! It is never too late to continue with our game plan. But, how do you go about it? The following is a suggested course of action for teachers, but it can be used as a template for anyone who wants to get back on the wagon with crisis management.

First off. Evaluate and take stock. What were your original goals? Did you set the limits you had in mind? What about those policies and procedures you were going to become familiar with so you could have consequences on hand that were consistent with protocol? Have you lost your temper with a student and become irrational yourself? Did you take what a parent said to you personally? This is a time for brief reflection on what you are doing well and what areas need improving. Literally write them down. It only takes a few moments, but can save incredible amounts of energy and time down the road. What was your original plan regarding how you were going to manage disruptive behavior? What did you follow and what slipped through the cracks? This would apply for those of you who are Certified Instructors in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training as well. What were your original formal and informal training goals and what is not being done?

Secondly, formulate a plan for change. This could be nothing more than sticking with the original crisis intervention plan for some of you. The difference is that this time you are going to do it! For others the plan may need tweaking. Were your original goals to lofty or out-of-reach? Taking another look at your original notes is a good start. Do you need to create a simple role-play to practice some of your techniques? How about bringing up some behavior management issues at a faculty meeting to hear what others are doing for similar situations. People usually love to share their success stories. Basically, what do you need to do to improve your crisis intervention skills? That is what this step is designed to accomplish.

Finally, make it happen! Talk to your Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Certified Instructor for their input. Create on poster-board and put up those classroom rules that you want students to abide by. It’s never too late. Have them read the rules and sign their names. Use strategic visualization (better known as daydreaming with a purpose) to play out in your mind how to verbally intervene with that student who says, “No, I won’t turn off my cell phone/remove my hoody/go to the principal’s office.” Take a coworker or several and role-play how to remove onlookers when situations begin to get out of control. Removing the audience is the technique educators tell me they have the most difficulty with. Then why not practice doing it as a rehearsal for the real thing? This is the time for you to tell your excuses to “take a hike” and then turn around and get things done. They do not have to be headline-making events, just implementing pieces that make sense to you.

Leaving our plans on the drawing board is something we are all guilty of doing. Just think about New Year’s resolutions. Beating yourself up about it and saying next year will be different is one course of action. Doing some of the simple steps mentioned in this blog is a better choice. Need more ideas? Go to the search box on this blog site and type in some key words. If you don’t find what you need, type and post me a comment and I’ll be happy to write about it. Good luck!

Get helpful hints about behavior management.