One thing I have trouble with is giving up control. This year I am trying to let my students take a little more control without me micromanaging every aspect of class. That means that sometimes there is a little more off-task behavior than I would like, but it also means that students are learning at their own pace.
Today I was reminded of my “giving up control” goal when my morning classes were combined with another Language Arts teacher’s classes, and she had a sub. This meant that I was pretty much in charge of 50 kids every class period. The sub was great and checked in with kids, but since we’re working on a challenging writing assignment (argument), I was the one they came to for help.
I was having a hard time balancing classroom management versus helping kids who have questions and really needed guidance. (However, as I’m reflecting now, I realized those groups sometimes overlapped.) Giving up control to work with individuals or small groups means I am spending more quality time conferring with kids. This also means that all of my students are not on task all of the time, as much as I would like them to be.
Tomorrow I will be in the same situation, and I think I will utilize more small-group discussions to confer with as many kids as possible. This will also help me to check in with nearly everyone in an efficient way. We’ll see how it goes, and see if those collaborative conversations can help my students stay on task and working hard (at least most of the time).
What are some ways that you have quality conferring time while also keeping tabs on all students’ work?