How to create an inspiring classroom culture

Written by Megan Epley, Founder

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Having taught for almost eight years, I’ve lost count of all the class culture and behavior trainings I attended, but I know it’s a lot!

Classroom culture is the common denominator on how to advance your class and create a legacy. It’s the foundation to your house. If you don’t have a good foundation then you don’t have a good house.

If you’re also a teacher, you know what I’m talking about. You’ve probably participated in far too many coaching sessions about how to manage the behavior of your students. And that’s because it’s hard!

Managing kids behavior is difficult, especially if they don’t want to be in school. Shaping your curriculum to teach every state test standard, while dealing with student behavior is even more challenging!

So, yes, here’s yet another blog post about creating an inspiring classroom culture. And really my only true advice is be yourself.

First: Always think of your end goal.

Similar to your lessons, ask yourself:

What do I want my students to achieve?

How WOULD YOU like to learn?

If you were a student, how would you want to feel in a classroom? Would you want to feel safe? Inspired? Valued?

I don’t know about you but there were some classes, especially in middle school, that I dreaded. I dragged my feet to walk through the doors of certain teacher’s classrooms because all they did was bark at me, command me to just read my book and take notes, or intimidate me with favoritism towards other students.

I absolutely hated middle school, and I know many can relate. And that is exactly why I teach our middle school classes. It’s why I started stARTem - for the middle and high school student. Because if my middle school classes had been about valuing my learning and identity, I could of found my voice in society much earlier on in life.

Plus everyone just needs a friend in middle school. Am I right?

Despite all of the awkwardness during grade 6-8, I did have a favorite teacher. Her name was Ms. Victor, and she was everyone’s favorite. Ms. Victor’s presence in the classroom made me feel safe and valued. And like I said, it wasn’t just me begging for a life preserver to survive the teenage years. Everyone wanted one, and they wanted one thrown to them by Ms. Victor. Even the parents wanted their kids to be in Ms. Victor’s class! 

And here’s another thing, I didn’t just want to be in the “favorite teacher’s” class, I wanted to learn and grow in that environment.

Ms. Victor was your Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School bus kind of teacher. She made lessons entertaining and herself accessible when life got tough. Ms. Victor was transparent. She was real. She was one of the most influential teachers I’ve ever come across. She inspired me to offer my best - both as a person and as a student. Ms. Victor breathed value to her classroom and each student she encountered with her spunky personality.