Whenever you bring an entire group of strangers into one room, for hours every day, there needs to be some sense of community built. Without it, the classroom will fall apart. The feeling of community is comforting. Life is easier when everyone knows they aren’t alone. The same goes for your classroom. As a teacher, it’s our job to make sure all of our classes feel like a little community after a few months. Read the following four areas you can directly effect in order make your way to a positive classroom community.
Code of Conduct
From day one, have a code of conduct in place for laying out ground rules. Let the students help decide what should be in the classroom code and have everyone vote on it. The more you can involve students in decision-making processes, the more invested they become in what you have to say.
Trust is a two-way street, so start off by making a commitment to your students. Involve students in more decision making. It sends a clear message that you trust them, value their opinions, and take them seriously. You also can’t have a strong sense of community without input from everyone within it.
Make it crystal clear that your classroom is a safe space for everyone. No one should come into class worried about what someone else will say to them. In your new classroom community, everyone is equal and treated with respect. By eliminating fear, you’re making room for engaging lessons.
Respect in the classroom is vital to a successful classroom community. Without respect, your classroom will never mold into the community you want it do. As a new community, you’re agreeing to unspoken rules of mutual respect and trust. Without them and the other two situations mentioned, the classroom will never feel like one cohesive unit.
As a new classroom community forms around you, remember that much like anything else worth doing, it’s going to take some work. In a short amount of time, both you and your students will reap the benefits of a solid community.