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Personal Reflection
Throughout this semester, my beliefs about and skills in managing a classroom have
grown immensely. Classroom behavior management always seemed to be the most difficult
educational concept to put into practice. I continue to find challenges in managing a number of
students while teaching a lesson, but I have definitely developed several skills over the years. In
this class and my field placement especially, I have discovered effective techniques, strategies,
and procedures. Before this semester, I honestly did not know a lot about managing a classroom.
I only knew very little about positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, and punishment. It
wasnt until this semester that I fully began to understand strategies like token economy, selfmanagement, check-in/check-out systems, group contingencies, contingency contracts, and the
Premack principle. I never realized the benefits of giving students choice. As I learned about
these techniques, I witnessed them being used in my field placement classrooms. For example,
my mentor teacher and the rest of Zeeland Public Schools have a very strong PBIS (Positive
Behavioral Interventions and Support) system in place. They believe in positively reinforcing
students because the students work extra hard to please if they know they will receive praise or a
reward. My mentor teacher implements a token economy system for the students when they
display on-task behavior and improve academically (reading). The students want those rewards,
so they do their best to follow directions and demonstrate prosocial behavior. Guidelines and
expectations are still set. If students behave poorly, consequences consistently follow. For
example, my mentor teacher places a sticky note at the top of a students desk as a way for him/
her to self-manage the behavior. Whenever the individual needs constant reminders to stay ontask, my mentor teacher will draw a tally mark and remind the student to work hard at staying

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focused. Every tally mark after ten represents a minute that the student owes at recess. It usually
only takes a few tally marks and reminders for the student to change his/her behavior. In
addition, a stoplight clip is used as a self-management tool in my mentor teachers resource
room. A green circle, warning sign, yellow circle, and red circle have velcro on a piece of paper
about the size of a notecard. Whenever the student repeatedly demonstrates off-task behavior
(blurting answers, not focusing, not paying attention, and not following directions), my mentor
teacher will take one of the velcro pieces off. The green light serves as a warning. The warning
sign means five minutes at recess. The yellow light is time in from recess and a phone call home.
The red light is a phone call home and a trip to the office. The students know exactly what is
expected of them. Overall, I have learned the importance of consistency when working with
students. Many of the strategies I listed above are effective and supported by evidence-based
research; however, not every technique will work for every student. After talking with my
mentor teacher one day at my field placement, I realized that teaching a lesson and managing a
classroom will not always happen the way you want it to on paper. For example, several
strategies may have been used on a difficult student and ended up unsuccessful. As a special
education teacher, it is important to never stop trying to figure out what techniques works. This
semester, I developed an added amount of patience, richer knowledge of beneficial strategies,
and an understanding for consistency. I am excited to continue to become a lifelong learner when
it comes to teaching and managing a classroom because there is always room for improvement.