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Classroom Management Plan: A Servant-Heart in Education

Jessica A. Moran

EFND 506 Classroom Management

Regent University

A. Theoretical Introduction

Philosophy of Classroom Management

To approach any philosophy of management requires a mind and heart open to

servant leadership, as well the ability to reflect on both past and present experiences to embody a

growth mindset. Educators must realize that teaching does not merely involve rote knowledge of

theories, strategies, pedagogy or the ability to hold a groups attention (Nichols, 2011) but the

plethora of in- and outside layers affecting both their and their students daily lives. Students in a

classroom must ultimately feel safe in their environment to foster a desire to learn and connect to

the material beyond memorization; this relies on more than the delivery of an engaging lesson,

but also classroom layout and design. When the teacher successfully facilitates and embodies the

aforementioned, the student may in turn be equipped with the tools to prosper both in and outside

of its walls. This can only be achieved with a desire to implement a relational focus which fosters

affirmation of a students presence and purpose.

As seen in the Responsive Classroom model, building community starts the moment

students enter the room (Hunter, 2015), while Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports

(PBIS) indicates it begins on the school bus (Putnam, Handler, Ramirez-Platt, & Luiselli, 2003);

each of these are indicative of a childs need for relationship before official teaching even begins.

Within this design lies a place for teachers to give purpose to a students existence in the sense of

connection, such as in the creation of a job or leadership role. Scholar Eric Toshalis pointedly

says Heres something teachers forget all the time: In human relationships, trust has to be

earned (2016, p.19). As a future educator, this what I ultimately wish to create and sustain a

relational environment in which my students feel safe, cared for, respected, and encouraged. By

maintaining a flexible outlook on my management philosophy, I aspire to be a servant leader


who meets their physical, mental, and emotional needs, or finds another way when I cannot.

Students must be reminded of their value, and trust that when they see my smile at the door that

they are truly coming home.

Assumptions of the nature of young people and learning

Working with children who have special needs has opened my eyes to celebrating

moments rather than just big or obvious successes. Though a child learning to spell their name,

grasp basic fractions, or understand the theme of a text is important, there are many other

victories which the teacher must not minimize. Learning is fluid, and it happens at a different

pace and presents itself in a distinct way for each student. Thus, the teacher must be prepared to

adapt instruction to the particular natures of their classroom on a yearly basis. As well as this,

knowledge must be imparted in a way that allows pupils to actually find and use their

knowledge in a productive manner, making it meaningful within their personal lives long

outside their time in a classroom (Simon, 1996 as quoted by Bransford, Brown, Cocking,

Donovan, & Pellegrino, 2000, p. 5). Connections are created not by standing at the front of a

classroom and lecturing, but in the creation of an interactive, inquiry-based environment that

allows the students to drive much of their own learning (Marshall, 2013).

Theorist Comparison

Based on my personality and experience with children over the last fourteen years, I have

come to see myself as a progressive and constructivist educator. Every child is different, thus

efforts must be made to differentiate instruction to student interests or temperaments on a yearly

basis (Tomlinson, 2001). I have great respect for John Dewey, his development of the Lab

School, and its emphasis on scientific observations of how children interact and play in order to

understand the workings of the grown-up world (Goldstein, 2014, p. 82). This ties to Francis

Bacons encouragement to use inquiry-based learning and in turn to Jean Piagets Theory of

Cognitive Development which emphasizes a childs need to construct and assimilate their own

knowledge (Powell, 2015, p.195; Bergin & Bergin, 2015, p.105). I believe that allowing children

space to direct their learning and develop metacognition in both an independent and cooperative

format allows for thinking and reasoning beyond the concrete. If a student is to feel physically,

mentally, and emotionally safe in this style of learning, it is significant to my philosophy to

consider theories of growth and development within my classroom management plan.

There is of course Maslows Hierarchy (Bergin & Bergin, 2015, p. 44) which indicates a

childs most basic needs must be met before learning occurs (such as physiological or safety), but

there is also Umie Bronfenbrenners Bioecological Model (Bergin & Bergin, 2015, p. 14) that

emphasizes the significance of a students immediate and extended environmental influences. To

sustain a classroom which provides comforts safety for teacher and student, a priority must be

placed on the development of high-quality relationships (2016, Regent University). This is

demonstrated in the pedagogy of many, including Thomas Gordons Teacher Effectiveness

Training, Rudolf Dreikurs behavior as it relates to social acceptance (2016, Regent University),

and Alfred Kohns developing the authentic [self] and interests of the student (2016, Regent

University; Charles & Senter, 2005, pp.239-255). When the students contribute to making the

classroom comfortable and productive (Kreassig, 2016) and conducive to learning, such as

through a class meeting or a class contract, they are far more likely to make an effort. Rather

than lecturing at a child from the front of the classroom, I agree with Frederick Jones in the

power of arranging seating so that teaching is as interactive as it is mobile students should

know my presence in both a reassuring and authoritative manner (Kreassig, 2016).


Ultimately, as many theorists advocate and which I strongly believe, relationships are the

foundation of a classroom management system. In taking the time to meet students needs,

intentionally know them as individuals, and foster an environment of servant leadership,

responsive and responsible learning will naturally occur.

B. Expectations/Policies/Rules/Boundaries

Expectations of Students

Students are to be made aware of the expectations placed on them at the beginning of the

year by using interactive modeling, and continually reminded of them in various formats. They

are as follows:

I can be responsible and keep my environment ready by:

o Having a clean desk. (Students will have an anchor chart to refer to, and I will

also model an example with an activity.)

o Preparing my materials for the day:
Sharpening my pencils.
Making sure I have all my books and notebooks.
Am I missing anything that I can take care of now?
o Having homework complete.
I can be respectful and keep my classroom kind by:
o Using my words to help or compliment.
o Saying please and thank you.
o Be a friend if someone is having a hard time or a bad day.
o It is only a big deal if I make it a big deal.
o Talking things out or filling in a Rewind and Rewrite sheet when there is a

If things are still not okay, talk to Mrs. Moran.
I can be safe in my environment by:
o Keeping my hands to myself.
o Placing my backpack and coat in a safe space.
o Listening to directions during drills.

Expectations of Classroom Climate


For students to feel able to learn and the teacher to instruct, the classroom needs

to be productive, efficient, and self-running (Watson, Design a Classroom that Facilitates

Productivity, 2016). Every space must have a function, and be organized well and simply enough

for a student to navigate. Areas need to be clearly labeled, and more so in the lower grades.

While I believe decoration is fun, I find it be overstimulating for certain students. I plan to use a

consistent theme around the room, keep wall clutter to a minimum, and purchase inexpensive

lamps and rugs to give the room a cozy feel.

The room and procedures must be intuitive (Watson, Design a Classroom that

Facilitates Productivity, 2016, p.5). Most human beings like to feel as if they are serving a

purpose, and students are no different. In the creation of a student-selected classroom job

system (Watson, 2016), students are given a sense of responsibility and ownership while the

teacher is less overwhelmed and can focus on instruction. Watson emphasizes that a teacher

should be focused on productivity in the classroom, assigning meaningful tasks to students

that are essential to your daily routines (2016); these should be tasks that do not require my

immediate oversight, and can be done automatically. I plan to keep these jobs flexible and on a

rotation basis. The student who was previously held the job would be in charge of training the

next student for the position, thus developing a sense of personal responsibility, proficiency, and


The teacher must be comfortable with changing seating arrangements from year to year

because each group will be radically different, but their proximity to students is key (Jones,

2003). Introverted students may not thrive in the popular pod group seating, thus it may be

appropriate for their desks to be placed independently in an E- or U-shape. Flexible seating is

also an option for not only the introverts, but those who need something extra to relax or focus

(Gonzales, 2015). Students who struggle academically or behaviorally will need to be placed in

an area where they are supported and emboldened. Similarly, students whose personalities clash

will need space from each other to feel safe. The teachers desk should be towards the back of

the room, with the area for small-group work at the middle or front depending on the location of

the board. Ultimately, I am a strong believer in and advocate for The Responsive Classroom

which advocates a warm, safe, and joyful learning environment (2016).

Key Expectations:
o Students will be engaged and productive as a result of the classroom environment,

providing and setting up what is necessary for learning and productivity.

o Decorations will be relevant to the content and classroom population, and will not

be so excessive that students cannot see any wall space. On display will be

examples of outstanding student work and class rules or expectations.

o Areas will be clearly labeled, organized, and have processes (such as I can

posters for younger grades) so that students know where to go and how to use

them. They should be easily accessible to students without them having to ask

where to go, and carefully placed to help facilitate [my] routines and

procedures for both myself and students (Watson, 2016, Design a Classroom

that Facilitates Productivity, p.6).

o Student materials that are needed on a daily basis should be kept at student desks

or tables. Other materials should be stored in an easily accessible space for

students to help them stay organized.

o Each student will have a job to help with routine tasks, and in turn help their

learning be more productive as it gives their teacher more instructional time

(Watson, 2016, Automate & Delegate Routine Tasks).

o The teachers space will be at the back of the classroom where the majority of

files or personal materials are kept. The teachers interactive space will be at the

small-group table. Assessment data and other forms or instructional material

should be within easy reach of this area.

o Desks will be arranged to allow students to be as productive and cooperative as

possible, leaving enough space for the teacher to walk in between and interact

with students in close proximity (Jones, 2003).

Rules and Policies

Class rules do not need to be wordy or excessive, with five being the typically advised

maximum (Wong & Wong, 2009, p.150). I believe general rules are useful and should be

prominently displayed in the classroom, but in my beginning years of teaching I will incorporate

specific rules. It is important that students truly know what their boundaries are, learn strategies

for following them and preventing negative choices, and that I am able to explain the rules

thoroughly (Wong & Wong, 2009, p. 150). I would use multiple interactive modeling strategies

in the first month of school to help students feel more comfortable with the rules, and to develop

a flow of action (Watson, Plan procedures for a smooth first week, 2016).

Respect others: I will use kind words and actions and keep negative comments to myself.
Respect myself: I will keep trying. Tomorrow is a new day!
Respect my teacher and school: I will pay attention, listen carefully, and always do my

Need something? I will use hand signals to communicate if Mrs. Moran is teaching.
Be a friend: I will have a positive attitude and help when I see someone having a hard

time or bad day.

I also a firm believer in the Classroom Contract to ensure that students feel they have a

safe space to share their mind, hearts, and take risks without fear of judgment, laughter, or

reprimand. However, this will not happen unless expectations involving the classroom

environment are clearly reciprocated (Johnson, 2005). I believe it is important for students of all

ages, backgrounds, and needs to have a say in what the values of their home for the year should

be, particularly older students. The word home is used intentionally because that is the type of

space I wish to create and maintain. By presenting it in this way, I hope to create a family

dynamic in which yes, we can be expected to argue or get on each others nerves sometimes, but

ultimately we are there to support, encourage, and help one another prepare for the world outside

of school. As a person and future educator, I do not believe that yelling at students is at all

effective. It causes them to shut down, tune me out, or fight back. The students who continue to

exhibit behavioral struggles will be taken aside for a one-to-one conversation or specialized

intervention (Kriete & Davis, 2016; Selig & Arroyo, 1995) regarding how we can set goals

together to improve; these will not be broad or wide swept, but incremental, intentional, and

specific. As they demonstrate effort and improvement, I will encourage a positive trait personal

to that student, enabling them to feel confident in a leadership-type role.

Instructional and Assessment Strategies That Promote My Management Goals

As a teacher, I plan to advocate for student-directed learning through the use of

cooperative and differentiated instructional strategies (Tomlinson, 2001). In using methods that

promote student-led inquiry, discovery, creativity, and ownership, students are far more likely to

feel engaged and propelled to learn (Robertson, 2005). Each pupil will bring a different set of

academic and personal needs to the classroom, and at times radically so. It is my job to ensure

they learn in a way that is both effective, relational, and instrumental for their future. While

whole-group lessons are necessary and exciting, I love seeing and hearing students thinking in a

small-group setting. This enables me to plan more efficiently as I tier assignments, or offer

modifications and extensions for those who need them. Taking data from consistent formative

assessments and anecdotal notes will allow me to stay on top of where my students fall in their

understanding of content and thus help me to design a cohesive summative assessment. Based on

this evidence, I will be able to continually design future lessons with the end in mind rather than

going in oblivious (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005).


The question of how to best motivate students is an intriguing and often debated concept.

Extrinsic rewards can be exciting and fun, but what do you do when a student becomes

dependent on receiving a piece of candy every time they exhibit a good behavior or choice?

Intrinsically motivated students are ideal, but rare unless time is taken to help build their self-

efficacy; in reality, my students are going to have a blend of the two (Bergin & Bergin, 2015, p.

574, 576). However, I believe a great deal of potential lies in the development of prosocial

behavior and a students view of their identity. In essence, as described by Gregory and Kaufeldt

in The Motivated Brain, motivation is the force or energy that results in engagement (2015);

this exists not just from the teacher to the student, but as an active force between teacher,

student, and curriculum (Gregory & Kaufeldt, 2015). Thus, I must seek to understand what type

of learning I hope my students achieve (Schaps & Lewis, 1991).

Extrinsic motivators, such as giving candy, free time, or homework passes, are certainly

loved by students, and I am not against them as an occasional treat. However, does this truly

address behaviors, academic needs, or initiate long-term success? I believe these rewards

encourage an initial positive response, but once the excitement has worn off the problem returns,

and possibly worse than before. Within my personal philosophy, while I will incorporate both

types of motivation, I feel that intrinsic motivation is both more effective and farther reaching.

Todays world is full of instant-gratification, and my students will be no stranger to it. How, then,

can I introduce the benefits of delayed gratification? As one teacher so fittingly states, These

kids need confidence, not candy (Ginsburg, 2013).


Long-term motivators exist within the promotion of a growth-mindset (Dermody, 2012).

From my current placement and hopeful future employment within a Title I school, I have noted

many of these students have a lack of confidence in their abilities. Through the use of Positive

Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS), intentional relationship building, servant

leadership, and addressing specific negative mindsets, a great deal can be accomplished. To

encourage a natural growth of self-efficacy, I aim to replace negative self-talk by changing I

cant thinking into I can, and adding the power of the word yet to encourage students to

grab on to their potential (Dermody, 2012).

As a teacher, I must make my feedback to students specific to the individual, and

encourage them to see that mistakes are not the end but rather the beginning - after all, they are

in school to learn! I strongly wish to help my students focus on growing together as a class to

encourage and improve social behavior, investment and pride in learning, and a sense of self-

efficacy and belonging (Gregory & Kaufeldt, 2015; Regent University, 2016; PBIS, 2016). Thus,

by setting clear expectations with and for my students and in the provision of a sturdy foundation

for a growth-mindset, I hope to accomplish an intrinsically motivated student body.


Though I do not know the grade level I will be teaching, I can anticipate common threads

that I wish to implement in an average school day.

Before School: Arrive early to prepare for the day. This includes any materials that need

to be set out, and also time to mentally gather myself so that I am in a healthy mind and

heart space for my students. I will also use this time to keep up with parent and faculty

Student Arrival: I will greet students in the hallway just outside the door. They will

always have the chance to choose from a handshake, fist-bump, or hug, and be asked

How are you?; This will enable me to see if I need to pull anyone aside later to check in

on a deeper level. Lights in the classroom will be dimmed with relaxing music playing to

remind them they are in a safe space. I do not mind some noise or distraction at this time

being that the day has not officially started, however I will encourage mindfulness of

quiet voices. Morning work will either be on their desk or projected on the Promethean

Board. After announcements, I will go over their schedule and I Can statements for the

day. Students will be reminded to check their job for the day/week.
Morning Meeting: This will occur on a daily basis with a rotation of focus: sometimes it

will be content and on other days it will be social or relational skills. The students will

have the opportunity to help me lead the meeting on a rotational basis. This time will also

allow the class to share something they are excited or nervous about.
Instructional Time: Students will be familiar with a blend of whole- and small-group

instruction, as well as daily rotation of work stations. If necessary, class rules and

guidelines will be reviewed. As the day moves along, students may ask questions or voice

opinions as long as it is done respectfully (when asked to do so or by using the

appropriate hand signal). I do not mind some chatter because that shows me they are

excited about the material, however a look or signal from me will notify them of when

they need resume focus. At other points I will conference individually with students to

check in; my hope is to meet with each student for at least 5-7 minutes a week. This will

help achieve relational and thus behavioral and academic goals with my students.
End of the Day: The class will know that the end of a school day means a brief review of

the days events and tidying up the classroom. Five to ten minutes prior to packing up

will consist of either a review game or a read-aloud. After the students leave, I will

prepare and set out materials for the next day. I will plan for the following week, and

attend to correspondence. I also plan to leave notes of affirmation once a week on the

students desks for them to arrive to.


The above creates a rhythm which students come to not only expect but look forward to,

thus confirming the benefits of a classroom balanced in its architectural layers. For my

management goals to truly succeed, I must be intentional with the development of relationships

with my students. Taking the time to converse with each of them on an individual basis each

week will create a much stronger foundation for the year than just a casual greeting and lecturing

all day. My hope is that my students will see, feel, and know how much I care about their heart,

their mind, and their overall success not just in my classroom, but in the years to come.


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