Building a sane classroom after school
October 16, 2012 3:14 PM Subscribe
I have been asked to volunteer with an after school homework program for young grade schoolers, and I need help with classroom management.
One of the elementary schools in my area has requested volunteers for the after school tutoring program, and I said yes. The problem: the students are out of control. Screaming, constantly interrupting or shouting "I need help!", breaking pencils, running around—the kind of out of control I thought was a movie exaggeration. I don't know how much of the problem is the students' home life (it's a very high poverty school), how much is that they've been in school for a very long day and are plain exhausted, and how much is their age (first and second graders), but I also don't have control over those things.
What I need, for my sanity, is a way to get the noise level in the room manageable, to have students not distracting other students by interrupting or running around, and having some level of order. I am perfectly willing to accept that there will be some noise and movement. I am ok with students who don't want to do their homework as long as they don't distract others; I'm not here to force students to do work but help those who want it. I am praying there is a way to do this that doesn't involve handing out gold stars, fake money, or other trinkets.
While it would be ideal if I had more assistance from adults, the reality is that the assistance I do have is very limited and liable to be called away to deal with an even bigger set of behavioral issues. Likewise, I don't have the power to evict students or send them home.
Give me your best suggestions!