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C.M. Corner: Your “Why”

Hello 2019!  Most of us are thinking about goals, resolutions, things we want to accomplish over the next year.  Some are thinking about how they are going to get that done.  However, I want to take a minute and explore why.  Something that we don’t often consider is how each of us is in a position of leadership, whether it’s with one student, a small group or an entire class.    In one of the 10 most popular TedTalks, Simon Sinek discusses “How great leaders inspire action” and it all stems from why.   Mr. Sinek gives a number of examples of companies and people who have succeeded or...

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C.M. Corner: The Object of Your Attention

With student behavior ranging as widely as the earth to the moon, how can we implement a strategy to address all of the behaviors in the classroom?  Two simple words, your attention.  Yes, every situation is different and needs to be carefully considered.  However, if we establish what does or does not gain our attention as the underlying factor, we set the stage for a consistent approach to managing behavior. 

One thing I constantly encourage in our trainings is to consider the behavior exhibited.  If we consider behavior as an action based upon a need, consider what the need is. ...

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C.M. Corner: Great Expectations

Whether in school, at work or in general interactions, there is a list of expectations in regard to behavior.  One consideration we can make more often on our end is how well we are setting up our students for success.  We are most often a new influence in our students’ lives and are trying, on our end, to learn what is expected of us that day.  What are we supposed to accomplish?  What are we supposed to teach?  Who are we supposed to help?  A lot of times we go into these positions and don’t consider the student’s perspective.  They have a brand new person to interact with and no idea...

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Twin Cities Substitute Forum: The Difficult to Reach Student

We had an incredible Substitute Forum on November 13th in the Twin Cities, focused on the “difficult to reach” student.  You know the one; the student who doesn’t want to participate, who is always seeking attention, who frequently causes disruptions.   With a short list of suggested questions, discussion was well underway.  A lot of questions were asked, situations given and advice was offered.  I’ve put together some of the helpful tips that were suggested.


First, discussing strategies that could prevent a student from misbehaving, many suggested with “Don’t respond”.  It...

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C.M. Corner: The Power of Your Attitude

One of the most effective, yet least considered aspects of classroom management is control over our own attitude.  There are a variety of things that happen during the course of the school day, for better or for worse.  Most people have heard the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words,” but few consider the implications of their own actions.  We need to not only respond appropriately, but model the same behavior we desire from our students.  If we are unable to adjust or handle those various changes, how are we to expect our students to do the same? 


One of the things I...

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C.M. Corner: By Any Other Name

Walking into a new classroom, 30 new people to interact with, a lesson plan to learn and teach and a set of new rules to adapt to and uphold.  This is part of the challenge of working as a substitute.  You become responsible for not only keeping tabs on your students, but for managing their behavior.  This can become quite the challenge.  This week, we are taking a look at an easy way to build relationship with your students, but also to address behavioral concerns, by using their name.  Now, is this always easy to do, no.  And we are not suggesting that you wave your magic wand and...

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C.M. Corner: Proactive Questions

               One of the biggest struggles going into new classrooms and schools every day is the changing expectations.  Do you walk your students to various locations or does another staff member do that?  Who do I call if I have student behavior issues?  What do they want me to do about cell phones?  While most of classroom management in responsive in nature, where we are reacting to student behavior, we can be proactive in setting expectations or planning for coming events. 

One of the biggest recommendations I often give, and a lot of times one of the easiest things to do, is...

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C.M. Corner: Physical Contact and Behavior

As we work with new students, we strive to build positive relationships as quickly as possible.  This happens typically through a number of different ways: introducing yourself, positive reinforcement, class activities, games, etc.  One of the more common ways that we communicate care is through what we see as positive physical contact through a comforting hand on the shoulder or light touch on the arm to gain attention.  But what if what we intend isn’t what is understood?  In a 2 part post on the C.M. Corner last year, “How We Communicate”, we discussed how communication is not only...

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C.M. Corner: The First Few Minutes

With the school year well under way, students are now diving into the routine of class schedules, after-school activities and homework.  As we are in the beginning of the school year, this week we will take a look at the beginning of the day/class.  The first 5-10 minutes with a new group of students is a crucial time for any substitute.  You have to not only set the tone and expectations for the day, but establish yourself as a friendly, caring authority in the classroom.  While, each person will have a different approach, we’ve listed some ideas to consider.


Regardless of...

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C.M. Corner: Summer Break!

Congratulations!  You’ve made it!  Whether your districts are finishing up in the next 2 weeks or have already finished, you have made it through the 17-18 school year.  Take a deep breath and enjoy the much needed and deserved break.  In our final C.M. Corner for the year, we’ll take a look at how we can improve our classroom management through reflecting  and looking forward.


Normally, the end of December is reserved for reflection and goal setting, but this is a perfect time to do so for anybody in education.  Take some time to reflect on this past year and self-evaluate...

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