Hey, do you remember that class you took in college?
The one that taught classroom management by having students teach lessons while classmates role-played possible student behaviors?
One week, I was the kid with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. I'd curse with alacrity. All passive aggressive and slouch-y. Call on me. There's no way you'd ever connect with me. Talk to me in front of the class. Use humor. Keep me after the bell. Your own personal triumvirate of management failure.
Another week, I'd emulate the Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. I'd talk out of turn. I'd lose focus. I'd tap something incessantly. Is it real? Am I bored? Maybe you'd give me the first three minutes of class. The middle three. The last three. Unpack your euphemisms at IEP meetings: Energetic, easily distracted, difficulty focusing on tasks, needs frequent breaks. I'm all about pushing your patience and expanding your spin campaign.
The last week, I dug deep and uncovered a part I hadn't played in years: the latch-key son of a divorced family. I'd do my work. I'd raise my hand. I'd listen, but would never look directly at you. I'd fear attention. I'd temporize and sweat when called on to participate. I'd say 'please', 'thank you', and I'd think 'help me', 'who's looking at me?', 'I want out'. You'd wish you had more kids like me.
So, do you remember that class?
Psst...no such class existed.
If you want to play a part, play your part - the part that affords you the opportunity to manage your square space with efficiency. You'll have to try on some different roles. You'll find yourself soliloquizing and monologuing and carping on separate and different occasions.
But if you think asking for answers about classroom management leads to results, think back to that non-existent class from college.
Maybe, just maybe, our education programs do know something.