Time flies, eh? Two months of vacation came and went and now two days of teach are behind me. It all feels so easy this time around. But I must be careful. It's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security during these first days of school, the so-called honeymoon period. And yet, it's undeniable. I have come a long way and I feel assured I will not ever have to experience a year like my first year of teaching.

It will be different this time around. It's more than a fact. It's a mantra. I am drilling my rules, routines and procedures into my students. I am more attentive, aware and strict than I could ever be in those first weeks (and months) a year ago. I didn't know how.

Which isn't to say there won't be plenty of mistakes this go around either. That is one reality that sustains a sense of dread in my feelings on classroom management. Am I still too much of a "nice guy"? Do I feel stricter than I am? In two weeks will some sort of behavioral time bomb go off, leaving me to pick up the pieces once again?

In these early days all my students are practically perfect. Except one. Maybe I've been watching too much election coverage, but the only nickname that comes to mind is Maverick, for his willingness to push the limits when everyone else is still perfectly docile. So the question is, how does one deal with Maverick in these early days? The conventional wisdom is crack down early and crack down hard. Do not give him an inch or he will take a mile.

While I respect this thinking, I'm trying to find a way to implement this strategy in the least confrontational way possible. I tend to think these kids represent a sort of catch-22. They want to constantly push the boundaries, but if I confront them in the wrong way I think I risk setting the dynamic between us in stone. Especially in these early days I want him to think that this year can be different. He doesn't have to be "that kid" this time around. Is this naive? If I give him the space now will he run wild soon enough?

As it is I've made my expectations clear to the whole class, Maverick included. I'm repeating the rules, expectations, consequences and rewards constantly and I'm hoping that he can find a way to self-regulate. At the end of today I asked the students to reflect on their behavior and effort in terms of a behavior rubric we created in the morning. Maverick rated himself a 2 (out of 4) in behavior. Is this honesty a sign of promise? Or a sign he knows he's a "problem child", but doesn't care? Time will tell. In any case this time around I'll have a year's experience to draw upon when facing him, and the countless other challenges that await me. That's more of a comfort than I can describe.


ms. v. said…
hey there, I'm organizing a little get-together of teacher-bloggers... if you're interested in joining us, please send me an email at

Popular Posts