Today was my first day teaching science at a local middle school. It was a half-day and we spent the afternoon in professional development talking about the new rubrics the district is introducing.
We were discussing the differences between a proficient teacher and a distinguished teacher. My group was assigned "Classroom Relationships" and "Classroom Management". We decided that the difference between a "proficient teacher" and a "distinguished teacher" as far as classroom relationships and management would be how much the students "buy in" to the classroom relationships and management. The goal is to get the students to have positive relationships with each other and the teacher and to have them managing themselves - taking initiative to move along through the schedule without prompting (or pleading!) from the teacher.
My question is (especially regarding middle school) how to you make this transition? By the end of the year most of my classes are capable to managing themselves for the most part, but I don't know really what I do to get to this point. I think if I had a plan of attack I could get students working on their own more quickly.
Do people start using rewards and then phase them out? We decided that the distinguished teacher doesn't need to use rewards to get kids to behave, but maybe other people have different thoughts...
I am especially interested in this topic for middle school students and teachers. I find it very easy to get elementary kids excited about activities and learning, but middle school students are hard to motivate.
I make my lessons fun and use lots of positive reinforcement, but I am wondering if I could be doing more... Any thoughts???