Interruptions, blurts out, and other distractions

There are many procedures that you teach at the beginning of the year.  Some of them you know by heart.  But, it seems like there are always a few that you forget to teach until you have an "oops!" moment.

Phone calls are one of those procedures that I forget to teach my class until I get my first phone call.  Then it is the big "Oops!  I really need to add that to my procedures list next year".  Somehow I forget to do that because you know what the beginning of the year is like, crazy busy with a big dose of overwhelm-ness thrown in for good measure.  Learn from my mistakes and add what you want your students to do when the phone rings to your procedure list.  The next time the phone rings, you'll be glad you did.

At the beginning of the year, there is always a larger percentage of your class that blurts out.  For some students, it takes them a while to get back into school mode.  For others, it can be a matter of:
  • ANXIETY:  Beginning of the year can be a scary thing.  Think about your last job interview did you ramble on more than you normally would?  This is how it is with the nervous type of blurters.  They are anxious.  With time, they will adjust to the expectations of your classroom.  Sensitivity and patience works best with these type of students.  Heavy handed discipline or laying-down the law does not work with an anxious blurter.  All that does is make them more anxious and prone to blurt more.  Try to ignore their blurting as much as possible.  Making connections with them during work time or recess will help make them more comfortable with you and at school.  The smallest comment like "I noticed you working really hard on your journal today" can pay the biggest dividends with them.
  • IMPULSIVITY:  Some students are impulsive and excitable by nature. It could be also be a matter of maturity.  Check their birthdate.  Were they born between May - August? Whether it is their nature or a matter of maturity, there are strategies that you can use.  
    • The parking garage is a strategy to use when you are teaching a whole group lessons.  
    • Some students that blurt respond well to a visual reminder.  I made small stop signs and kept them everywhere that I kept one at my reading table, carpet time, white board, and all the other places that I taught. I didn't stop what I was teaching when one of my students blurted, I held up my small stop sign that I put on a popsicle stick.  The student quickly learned what the sign meant and without any verbal directions from me, stopped interrupting the lesson.  Here is a freebie for you.

Do you have colleagues that pop in when you are teaching?  Sometimes there is a reason why it is necessary to ask you a question during your instructional time.  But, many times questions could wait until you have a prep period, or before/after school.  If you have co-workers that are making a habit of popping in at the wrong time you can handle it different ways.  
  • Talk to them, privately, if it is becoming a problem.
  • Shut your classroom door during the day when you are teaching and don't want to be interrupted.  This works as a visual cue for most people.  If you don't want to be interrupted after school when you are catching up on paperwork, close your door then, too.   It works as well after school as during the day.
  • Did you hang a marker board outside your dorm room in undergrad?  People left you notes if you were sleeping or not in your room.  I have seen teachers used this same type of method.  They kept a marker board or even a small table with a pad of paper and pen outside their classroom door.  People can write a note and leave it in the basket.  
  • The first school I taught at was a Catholic School.  Students were taught to stand up next to their desk, face the person who enters their classroom, and greet them with either "Good Morning Mr./Mrs. ___   or Good Afternoon Mr./Mrs. ____".  It was to show respect and greet the person when he or she came into a classroom.  People rarely visited other classrooms during the instructional time, because the greetings clearly demonstrated that you were interrupting our class.
Looking for more tips?  Check out my Classroom Management Pinterest board.  Click on the picture below.

Fern has a few tips to share with you, too.  Be sure to hop over to her blog!

Each week, Fern and I share a Tuesday Teacher Tip. We love to read teacher blogs and the latest teacher idea books and hope you do, too!  Stop by Fern's blog and my blog each week for our latest tips.  We hope you will share your ideas, too.  

Each week we will choose one person who shared a tip on our blog who will get a $10 shopping trip.  We will announce the winner on the following Tuesday's post.  

Do you have a interruptions, blurts, or other distraction tip to share?  Be sure to include your email so I can contact you if you're the winner of the $10 shopping trip. You must leave your email address in order to win.

Looking for more ideas?  Click on the pictures below.


Unknown said...

I was just commenting to one of the other teachers in my grade level. I have a mom that also happens to be a parent volunteer in our building. She is constantly in my room.....before school, during instruction, and after school. And this has nothing to do with her child!! She also comes in early and lets her daughter roam the hallway. Which usually means she ends up in my room. I did talk to her today and asked her not to let her daughter come in until AFTER the bell rings. I have to entertain her often.....Ain't nobody got time for that!!!

Thanks for listening!

Unknown said...

I teach in a suite that has 4 classrooms so students have to walk through my room to get water, etc. I talk about this at the beginning of the year and make sure students know that they are to keep working. I also teach my students at the beginning of the year, that if another adult or student comes in to speak with me, they are to pull out a book and read quietly until I'm done.

Melinda said...

At my school last year, we were required to keep the door locked.
Now this can be a hassle for any teacher, but my school used to be open concept. I had a whole class that had to pass through my room to go anywhere. This was a really big deal because the teacher next to me often had kids coming in and out to go to the restroom. This always seemed to be while I was teaching. My kids would have to get up to let the other students in, not to mention that the door was hard to open and close due to the foundation. I talked with my principal about the possibility of using a Lock Smock (found on etsy) that would keep the door from locking when closed. It seriously saved my sanity, and helped my kids not get so distracted.