Today, I was reminded of the importance of creating and maintaining a good classroom culture. Since it was April Fool's, my supervising teacher and I planned out a joke to play on our 5th grade students. Upon arriving today, the students were told that the teacher was at a meeting and that the substitute was running late, so that the lesson plan of the day would be given to a student to be in charge to guide the class through the day until the substitute arrived. When the students asked me to be their substitute for the day, I'd simply state that I was only there to observe that day and that we should follow the supervising teacher's instructions. While I remained in the room to address any "chaos" that might arise, the supervising teacher was in a different room of the building and could be contacted instantly if necessary. The students followed their normal Monday routine schedule in general and also had a few presentations. The class found the situation a little strange but went along with it anyways and to my surprise, the class seemed to run itself. They performed their tasks as they normally would, finished and started activities on time, and were well behaved generally. They knew what was expected of them and they did it. They managed themselves from the beginning of school at 7:30am to lunch and recess time at around noon, when the supervising teacher returned.
The overall culture and feel of a classroom can be beneficial to a student's development and learning. As an educator, I would hope to create a respectable and productive learning community for my students such as the one mentioned above in which the students take ownership over their own learning in a safe, respectable place that promotes positive student engagement and interactions with one another.