You have to plan for it; and the 3Rs of respect, rapport and responsibility are as important as the other 3Rs—reading writing and ‘rithmetic.
Why? Because classroom culture is like a scent. You can whiff it the moment you walk into a room, and you want a sweet first impression.
When your supervisor walks in your door for an observation lesson, the most primal thing you want her to see, is kids working together respectfully—and even better, joyfully. Unless that’s in place, any other learning (and observation) is clouded.
A positive classroom culture has to be cultivated from day one. It can’t be faked, or summoned up at the last minute.
So, how do you create a positive classroom culture?
Starting on the first day of school, talk frequently about the importance of showing respect, being kind, getting along, being a good listener, being civil, being patient and forgiving, and working well together. Notice it and describe it when you see kids doing it.
Talk about respect. What does it mean and why is it important?
Respect means you see, and like or admire, and care about someone, including yourself.
And don’t just talk; show how it’s done in your body language, actions, tone of voice and words.
Read books with the theme of respect, and talk about them. For instance: Stand Tall, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? The Way I Feel, Hurty Feelings, Rainbow Fish, Elmer, Horton Hears a Who, Same, Same but Different.
Building respect in the classroom is an ongoing discipline. There’s no doubt that every lesson will benefit.
For a detailed look at every part of your perfect lesson, please consider The Perfect Lesson Plan – From Planning to Presentation. It includes insights, checklists, charts, cheat-sheets, tips, class posters, lesson plans and lesson plan templates to guide you through every step of your observation lesson—starting with respect.