Fostering a positive atmosphere in the classroom is one of the most important things an educator can do. It not only leads to happy students, teachers, and parents but it also helps in building relationships. When you have a positive vibe, and strong relationships, the "Sky's the Limit".
As a classroom teacher I would arrive in the gym (where our students gather in the mornings) at least ten minutes before the welcome began. I loved greeting my students, discussing their night, gathering notes etc., it sat the tone for our day together. Now that my roll has changed I think it is still important to greet the students each morning, but on a larger scale. So, I arrive in the gym at least 25 minutes before the welcome so that I can say hello to each class and stop by the students that I feel need a quick hello or hug to start their day. I love the fact that our principal does this too, I think it sets the tone for the entire campus.
After the morning welcome I walked with my class to our classroom, held the door open for them, said another quick hello or reminders as to what to do when they entered the room. Each Monday morning they would find a personal note on their desk from me. It might be as simple as, "Last week was awesome, let's make this one amazing" or "Hope you have a week as fabulous as you are". I don't have a "classroom" anymore so I try to have a pen and sticky notes with me at all times so that if I see work hanging in the hall I can write a quick note to the student and stick it to their work. During our Dot Day celebrations there were so many things on the hall walls that I decided to write one word on the notes, all synonyms for awesome!
I have also found that communicating positives with parents helps with our classroom vibe too! Phone calls, notes, blogs, SeeSaw, twitter, Facebook class accounts are a few ways to have positive communication with school families and build relationships at the same time.
During the day there are many opportunites to say an encouraging word and listen to the needs of our students. I have always tried to treat each student as if they were my own, this worked well for me.
I can honestly say that I didn't have many discipline issues when the atmosphere in the classroom was a positive, uplifting one. Everyone wanted to be there and couldn't wait to see what exciting learning adventure we would embark upon each day!
Attitude is a choice, choose a positive one!