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Monday, August 14, 2006

The Value of Routine



Routines can allow life (and your classroom) to be a little bit predictable. I have always hated and fought routine although I am finding that their presence in my classroom frees me to be more creative and effective as a teacher.

The fish in the picture to the left were some we saw in a glass bottom boat tour on our cruise this summer. Each day at the same time and in the same manner, this glass bottom boat crew goes to feed the fish oatmeal.

The fish know what to expect. They flock and feed because they know there will be food (and safety) from those on the boat. It is an ideal (albeit artificial) situation for their feeding.

There is a comfort in routine for students.
How will I know what is for homework? How do I know what to do upon entering the room? What do I do upon leaving the classroom? How do I get papers back?

This year I've really focused on honing my procedures for entering, leaving, and running my classroom. Thus far, two days into school, I am extremely pleased and am finding that the systems I've put in place have helped me to focus on my primary job: teaching.

Although my anti-routine psyche tries to rebel, I am firmly convinced that this is a discipline of a good teacher. For in the midst of the creativity and uncertainty about the CONTENT of what I will be teaching that day, there is a routine that undergirds how we do things. It just helps the learning process and ultimately helps me.

So, don't be like me as I began teaching and think that procedures will limit you. Procedures and routines have been one of the most freeing things I've ever implemented. Check out my post on the first days of school for how I've done it.

With routines, good planning, and a passion for teaching, perhaps you'll find your students swarming like mine do to learn the latest information from you!

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