Friday Thoughts: Nothing is Random
One thing I love about observing classrooms is seeing how great teachers work behind the scenes. What may seem random to students is, in fact, very methodical, intentional, and anything but random. Great teachers never allow “random” things to happen in class— they just make some things feel random. Here are some examples I’ve observed this week:
- While lecturing in front a class, a teacher noticed a student who was off-task. Without missing a beat, the teacher walked over and stood next to that student continuing the lecture. The student quickly got back on task and remained on task the rest of the class period.
- When calling on students, a teacher asked for volunteers but didn’t call only on the students with a hand in the air. Students were carefully selected to respond and the teacher scaffolded questions when necessary.
- At lunch, some students were not acting appropriately and left quite a mess in the courtyard. Rather than closing the courtyard and unfairly punishing some students, being present in the courtyard during lunch has prevented misbehavior and the area has been kept clean all week.
- When having students form groups, a teacher “randomly” assigned students to a group (but really was handpicking who would be in which group).
- A teacher gave students new assigned seats. While it may have seemed random to the students, there was definitely a rhyme and reason to where each student was sitting.
- One teacher was showing a short History Channel movie clip that showed one piece of artwork that students may not have handled well. Knowing the maturity level of his students, when the artwork was about to be shown, the teacher interrupted the video and added some commentary to the topic. Doing so allowed the students to be focused on him— not on the artwork.
- In chapel, several students were restless and not on task. A teacher simply moved closer to the students, made sure they noticed she was there, and the misbehavior stopped. The next day, that teacher was seen sitting in the same place and the kids acted great.
- While students were working in groups, rather than sitting at his desk, a teacher walked from group to group answering questions and monitoring students. As one group started getting a little off track, the track nonchalantly walked over to the group to see how things were going. The students immediately were refocused and kept working to finish their task.
Remember, great teachers seek ways to prevent disruptions from happening. Their main goal with classroom management and student discipline is to make sure misbehavior doesn’t happen in the future. And even though things may look and feel random to students, great teachers know exactly what they’re doing. That’s part of their craft and I love seeing it in action. It’s one of the best things I get to do each day.