What do we define a successful classroom to look like as teachers? When you look into someone's room, how do you define a good teacher?
For the longest time, I felt pressure to have that 'quiet class'. Sitting in rows, I would run around shushing, using all the management techniques in the book to have that quiet hard working class. I felt uptight and nervous, was my class quiet enough, were they bothering others, what did people THINK OF ME?!?!?!?
Haha, I've come a long way since then. I don't worry so much about what others think, as I began to realize that defining a successful classroom does not mean the quietest, there are other ways we can define good teachers.
As I settled into my teaching career, I began to use centers in Language Arts. Students sat around the room in small groups chatting away, laughing and enjoying their activities. As I looked around the room, I felt content and not worried about running around shushing everyone. I enjoyed the centers so much that the next year I began Math centers and that same feeling came over me as worked with students in small groups and watched kids shriek with delight as they played a math game. The year after that I introduced Social Studies centers. This was it, I was hooked on centers! A quiet classroom just doesn't work for me. I like the noise, the chatting, and the laughter.
This also rolled over into my teaching style. I started Whole Brain Teaching and I LOVE IT. It get's your kids talking and interacting during your lesson, and keeps the direct teaching in short amounts. I like giving students chat time, and I find in turn they give me better listening because they have had that opportunity to talk.
Do I do centers all day long? No
Do I think everyone should do centers? No
Is whole brain teaching for every teacher? Absolutely not.
What I think I've learned is that you need to find what works for you and not define yourself by other people's definition of a good teacher. So if you walk by my room and my kiddos are noisy and chatting...well... that's just the way I like it ;)