Hi friends. Welcome to Mr. Mark’s classroom. I’ve really been experiencing some teachers struggling with classroom management and I thought maybe we better talk about this a little more. So, I want to put together a few of these in a series that might help with what is happening in your classrooms as well. Or if you are a minister, maybe you could just pass this on to your teachers.
First, I want to say we want to model for the children love, a loving relationship with Jesus. They can have a loving relationship with us. So, a couple of things that I want to challenge you to do is to greet them at the door, welcome them into your classroom and actually look them in the eyes and talk to them. Say their name. Their name is so important to them. When you say that, and you’re able to make that connection right as they come in the door, it makes a big difference. Make that connection and have things already ready for them to go ahead and get started. If it’s in preschool, if it’s in elementary, it doesn’t even matter because they need to get started and we want them to. So, go ahead and greet them at the door, say their name.
I even tell the kindergartners that I teach on Sunday morning when it’s time to go. We talk about what we’ve done, and begin getting their papers and stuff and I always tell them that I love them and I hope they have a special day. That’s a little different when I work with the fourth-graders on Wednesday night. Yeah, it’s creepy. If I were to say to one of the children, “I love you, I hope you have a happy day,” or whatever. That’s a little creepy because they’re older. So, here’s what I do with elementary. I say it to the whole class. I get them all together. We’re going to pray. And as we pray and we’re dismissed, I’ll say towards the girls, “I love y’all. I’m so glad you’re in my class. I’m proud of you. I hope you’ll have a great day today.” And you can just give them that as a group message and it keeps the creep factor down. Maybe if you’re a sweet little old lady, you could really get away with it great, and no one would even hesitate. But we have to think about those things and be sure that we want to model a relationship with them so that they will understand what a relationship with Jesus is all about, and that’s a big deal.
Children need to know that they’re loved, that they’re accepted, and that they belong here. It’s not because of what they’re wearing or how they behave or any of that that determines if we love them.
I’ve got to tell you something. I had a meeting with a lady who is considering bringing her daughter to kindergarten this Sunday and I’m praying she will. Her daughter has autism and she’s nonverbal. She’s a little bit concerned about where her daughter will be placed and I totally get that. So, I met her on Wednesday. We looked around and checked out the classroom and stuff. I talked about the wonderful people who work in that class for the hours that she would be in there. And that I would be right there too. When we were all done and she seemed to be better about the whole thing, I just reached up and touched her elbow and I said, “And listen, we will love your child. We will.” And it was a moment that she needed to hear that, that we will love your child. I hope they’ll come so that we can have that chance. But that’s a big message for us to give to parents and to give to children. So, let’s start there, as we’re thinking about classroom management, that we are going to love these children. They don’t have to earn it. We’re just going to accept them just the way Jesus accepts us.
The next one is I want to challenge you to be the example that you need to be. Whatever you say, you need to stick to it. You need to do it. So, if you won’t let children sit on the furniture, the tables and such, the shelves, then don’t be putting your booty on the shelves and on the table. Because if you’re going to say it and then turn around and sit on a table yourself, then you’re setting a terrible example. It means “I don’t have to listen to you, I just have to follow whatever you’re doing.” You’re going to find kids that you have blurred the lines and it’s ridiculous. So, be wise that you’re setting the example. The way you talk to each other, the way that you talk to the children, the way that you talk to other teachers in the room, the way you kid, or whatever you say about people who are not in the room. Those are important things because we want to set the example of how a person should operate as a Christian and be that person for them.
If you want children to actively participate, then you also need to participate with them. So, be involved. Sometimes it’s great fun to explain the game and you start the game, but then maybe someone else is up and you take a turn in sitting in a chair, and just go back and forth. The kids love that you would play with them, that you would enjoy that time with them. So, I challenge you to be a person who will participate with them and also children are going to follow your actions probably more than your words. So how do you say things? Are you encouraging? Do you lift people up? Let me just encourage you to laugh because laughter really does diffuse a lot of tense emotions that could be in the room of children who are new, children who are struggling with other children. Laughter does really make everything easier for everyone. So, don’t be afraid to laugh.
Don’t be afraid to smile. Enjoy that time with them. So, always model Jesus and your love for them. Be the example that you should be.
Then the next one is your consistency. That’s right. You need to be consistent. Consistency is really the key. For instance, if you ever open the door to negotiations, like, “I said this, but okay, you’ve been really good this time, we’ll do it this way.” If you ever open the door to negotiations, then it will always be open to those children because you’re setting yourself up for a big fail. If you’ve said something, you stick with it. Your consistency to show up, to be there before they’re there, to have things ready. That all plays a huge part of how things are going to roll in the time you have with them. I know some of you are walking into a room with the children because of the time schedule that is happening at your church. I totally get that. That happens at our church too. But even meeting them in the hall, having that conversation, then all of you going in and you delegating to them what part they will do and how they’ll get started will really help your leadership shine and you are going to have consistency on your side, even as you’re walking in with them.
You’ve probably worked with people who were inconsistent, they said one thing and then it didn’t do it. Or they did something else or they made promises they wouldn’t keep. Consistency is a big deal. It’s hard to work with people like that – who are inconsistent. Well, let me just say, kids have a hard time working with teachers who are inconsistent too. They don’t know what to do. They can’t trust you, you’re not reliable, so you really need to take up your game and be good at consistency. They’re looking at the adult and looking for the leadership. It’s not just baked in. They are hoping to be able to respect you and to follow you, but you do have to earn it and your consistency does provide a big road for that. It builds security in them that they’ll be able to follow that. So, what is expected in your ministry? It’s the same for you, it’s the same for the minister on your staff, it’s the same for your pastor. There is consistency that’s necessary for us to be successful. Children get confused if we don’t follow with a consistent pattern. Try to introduce some ways that you want your classroom to operate. The way you’re going to come in, what you’re going to do, the way you’ll go to group time, how it will set up each time. Is your group time going to have the circle of chairs? Are you going to sit on a rug? Will you always need your Bible? See, these are things that too many teachers assume and they never give expression of what is needed for the next thing, so you’ve got to give direction and then you do that week after week, after week. Then the children understand there’s consistency. This is the way we do it. They’ll even police each other to be sure to get your Bible. Or “We have to sit over here.” They’ll even help each other because they’ve learned that from you. So, try to work on that consistency. What is it this week that you need to be consistent about? Are you there early? Are you prepared? Are you greeting those kids at their eye level and saying their name? Do you have things ready to go?
Are you engaging with and learning with them? Because that’s all going to be a big part of the success that you’ll have this week. Well, I’d love to hear how it goes for you. You can make a comment here if you want to. Check us out at mrmarksclassroom.com and I would absolutely love to hear what you would suggest for good classroom management.
Okay, join me next week and I’ll have part two of Classroom Management. I want you to be super successful in what you’re doing in ministry with kids. Your life is a gift in ministry. Go and make it count.