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January 1, 2023

Classroom Management: Fall Semester vs. Spring Semester [GIFs]

Does this scenario sound familiar?

A major and unexplainable shift occurs between the fall and spring semesters. Your students reenter the classroom wholly changed, some of them transformed from rosy-cheeked cherubs to possessed gremlins. This mutation happens in such a sudden and profound way that you have to re-strategize your classroom management.

You’re not imagining it. Really, this is some serious Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde level stuff. In fact, the following situations might feel eerily accurate.

On the first day of school…

If there’s one advantage to this teaching life, it’s that you never have the same experience twice. With a new gaggle of kids popping into your classroom, every new year gives you a fresh start with a new world of opportunities and possibilities. Let’s all get ready to change some lives.

On the return from winter break…

They’re back, but the vacation from school has changed them. These kids used to be little angels, didn’t they? Did some cosmic interference occur, and now you’ve entered a bizzarro world? Where your classroom management happened without incident last semester, now your call-and-responses fall upon deaf ears.

Greeting students in the morning in August…

Ah, those growing minds ready to soak up all that beautiful knowledge. It’s always a blessing to say hello to our world’s future leaders.

Greeting students in the morning in January…

They have returned. They are hungry. They are ready to feed. They will feast upon your sanity. Run!

Advising committees and social clubs the first semester…

In the fall, you’re gung-ho to help kids cultivate their interests outside the traditional classroom setting. You’re more than aware of how these extracurricular activities build character and help kids prepare for their higher education. You’re darn glad to lend a volunteer hand, even if that means you get less time for yourself.

Advising committees and social clubs the second semester…

There is so much good television to watch. The couch only gets more comfortable the longer you stay away from its warm and loving embrace. You suddenly blame the fall semester version of yourself for having to stay past contract hours.

Planning in the fall semester…

There’s nothing like big, hairy, audacious goals to inject some optimism into the school year. You’re looking toward the state goals, but you also want the kiddos to learn in a way that’s uniquely impactful to them. Planning is time consuming, sure. But it’s oh-so worth it.

Planning in the spring semester…

Well, now you have to complete all those lofty objectives. And these kids aren’t the same ones you knew a few weeks ago.

Student relationships in September…

There’s nothing quite like good, quality SEL happening in your classroom. Your students are communicating, cooperating, taking feedback, and making kind choices. Even if there’s interpersonal conflict, things work out. In terms of citizenship, empathy, and human connection, everything is A-OK.

Student relationships in February…

Wait, this used to be a classroom. Now you teach on the set of a soap opera.

Going over the classroom rules the first time…

This set of standards for how we treat other students and show respect to our school will set the foundation for a year filled with knowledge and growth. Everyone works together to create the healthiest, most productive environment imaginable.

Going over the classroom rules the ten thousandth time…

The concept of keeping one’s hands to oneself is now a foreign concept. One student has re-created the Mona Lisa under her desk using bubble gum. Have you ever seen that movie Children of the Corn?

Teaching the state curriculum…

Hey, maybe you don’t agree with all of their arbitrary standards, but there needs to be some measure of progress. Right?

Reviewing for the state tests…

These godforsaken exams are a fungus on the foot of public education.

Leaving for winter break…

You’re set to recharge and return with a renewed sense of optimism for the second half of the academic year.

Leaving for summer break…

You’d leave a teacher-shaped hole in the wall, if only you weren’t so exhausted.

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