Managing Your Classroom the FISH! Philosophy Way!

Published On: October 20, 2023Categories: Blog

The new school year is heating up, and as teachers begin to feel like they’re starting to get to know their students, many are turning their thoughts towards the next step: effectively managing their classes and their classrooms.

Classroom management tips are a dime a dozen, but the FISH! Philosophy offers advice based on real-world education sector experience that not only works in the classroom, but translates to any age group or industry. By following the pillars of FISH!, you can work towards building a classroom that’s respectful, collaborative, and encourages learning, growth, and relationship-building both for the students and the teacher guiding them.

Be There to build trust and openness

Think back to your favorite teacher when you were growing up. Maybe this teacher was great at teaching and helped you understand a hard concept – but for many of us, our favorite teacher was the one who was simply there for us. They were the teachers that offered sage advice, not just facts out of a textbook. They offered a shoulder to cry on when we were sad or hurt. They went out of their way to nurture us beyond the subjects they taught. Simply put, for most of us, our favorite teacher was someone we knew would Be There for us.

Not every student will require all of your attention. There are plenty who will succeed just fine by absorbing your lessons and leaving at the bell. But there will be students who need more support – whether it be educational, emotional, or social – and it’s vitally important that we signal our willingness to provide this support.

It’s about picking your words, choosing your actions, and even altering your physical surroundings in a way where students who need you know that they can come to you without fear of punishment or dismissal. When you can create this environment, students leave feeling heard, feeling supported, and feeling like you truly understand what they’re going through – and that mutual respect will create the most manageable classroom you’ve had yet.

Make Their Day to make each student feel special 

“Every student is special” may be a cliche, but it’s an idea we still hold onto tightly – and for good reason. Every child is different, is unique, and must be approached, acknowledged, and taught in a way that works for them. Make Their Day isn’t about simply knowing that each student is an individual, but by offering even the smallest gestures to make them understand that you feel this way.

Our school systems are fantastic at rewarding academic (and often physical) achievement, but it’s often up to the teachers to acknowledge individuality in other aspects – personality, humor, compassion, artistry, and so much more. You don’t have to spend every second of your day patting every kid on the back, but small gestures can go a long way. These could be compliments for a child that may not grasp every concept on a project, but puts in a lot of creative effort. It could be a reward for hard work and effort. It could even be as simple as learning every child’s name.

These moments don’t feel like much on their own, but they ensure that you’re building a classroom culture of positivity, inclusivity, and acknowledgement of each students’ unique abilities and insights – which they’ll carry over into their own actions as well.

Play encourages critical thinking and collaboration 

Teachers all over the world intuitively understand the power of play – that’s why so many advocate for recess and physical education. And yet, there’s a huge difference between play in the colloquial sense and Play as a pillar of FISH!. For us, Play means any time and space devoted to free thinking, free expression, experimentation, and discovery – without fear of judgment or condescension.

In this sense, Play is far more than just running around to burn off excess energy. Rather, it’s an integral part of learning. Play is creating room for all students to share their ideas with you and with each other – no matter how outlandish – because by grappling with these ideas, we can come together and collaborate on real innovative solutions. Play is about being willing to go off-book, go outside of the lesson plan, and nurture critical thinking and teamwork amongst young minds eager to learn, practice, and take ownership of their community. 

Choose Your Attitude to boost your classroom’s spirits

“Bad attitude” is a common note during parent-teacher conferences, but where does that start? While children certainly bring negative emotions with them into class if they’re feeling them beforehand, many educators are reluctant to admit that their own attitudes set the tone for the rest of the class.

As a teacher, you surely know how that children are far more perceptive than we often give them credit for being, and that means that they can sense your mood from the moment you enter the classroom – if you’re slamming doors, huffing and puffing, or short with your words, your students will pick up on that and find their own moods soured, which soon spreads throughout the class.

Alternatively, when we choose our attitude, we can acknowledge our internal emotions (even frustrations and anger) while still deciding to act in a way that nurtures and respects the emotions of the minds we’re trying to mould. Doing so doesn’t mean hiding your true self; it just means expressing your feelings with consideration and respect–by doing so, you’ll receive far more of the same in return from your pupils. 

Ideas to Reflect On:

  • How do your emotions and your attitude present themselves outwardly? Can students sense when you’re in a good mood, or a bad mood? Do you notice if your attitude is reflected in your students’?
  • Do you give the same attention, compassion, and guidance to all of your students, regardless of if they’re high-achievers or personal favorites? If not, what can you do to Be There for each and every student, and what actions can you do to Make Their Day?
  • Does your lesson plan and classroom culture make room for Play? Are students encouraged to brainstorm, try new things, and express their opinions, even if it leads to failure or differs from how you’d do things?

Want to Implement FISH! in your organization?

Are you a leader?  Do you train others?  Do you want others to be leaders?

Charthouse Learning, the creator of the world-famous, award-winning, FISH! film is offering an in-person, 2-day workshop, interactive Train-the-Trainer lead by our Senior Trainer.

During our time together you’ll learn how to:

  • Share the motivation and foundation of FISH!
  • Introduce the FISH! film with the four practices.
  • Present the invitation to apply the practices in everyday interaction with others.
  • Build a sustainability and reinforcement program to transform the culture.
  • Pick up tips from other FISH! Philosophers and develop a strategy to embed the practices into the DNA of your culture.
  • Create an energized organization that is the “first choice” for employees, faculty, staff, leaders, and customers.

Plus, you will learn how to create a workplace where people choose to “be and bring” their best self everywhere, every day.

At the FISH! Train the Trainer you will:

  • Dive Deep: Discover The FISH! Philosophy – full of “A-ha!” takeaways and perspective-shifting realizations.
  • Transform: Make the four FISH! practices – Play, Be There, Make Their Day and Choose Your Attitude – an essential part of your professional and personal skill set.
  • Discover: Learn practical ways to apply the FISH! practices to improve teamwork, service, leadership, retention and performance.
  • Develop: Brainstorm strategies to embed The FISH! Philosophy into the DNA of your culture, strengthening your mission, vision and values.
  • Collaborate: Learn and laugh with like-minded folks from across the globe.

Click Here for More FISH! Train the Trainer Information

FISH! Starter Kit

The first step in a successful FISH! journey is a remarkable introduction. A FISH! Philosophy kickoff event:

  • Inspires people to find the joy they have been missing at work.
  • Teaches four powerful skills you can use immediately for team and personal success.
  • Unites team members to accomplish any goal.
  • Is incredibly fun . . . and people learn more when they have a good time!

The FISH! Starter Kit provides all the tools you need to plan and lead a great kickoff.

Click Here for More FISH! Starter Kit Information

Whether you work in business, education, or healthcare, FISH! offers accessible, intuitive solutions to empower your workers, bring your team together, and introduce Play into your organization. We invite you to contact us today at 800.695.4534 or to speak with our cultural specialists, who will help you find the right FISH! Philosophy solutions that will nurture your organizational culture and motivate your team!

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