In When Relationships Matter, elementary school teacher Crystal Tanyag Goins shares her strategies for classroom management in hopes of inspiring other public school teachers.
“Making connections with your students first is key” declares Goins, a parent and educator with ten years’ experience teaching young students. She builds these relationships on a classroom management framework she calls PART, which stresses preparation, self-awareness, responsibility, and teamwork.
The book’s first half discusses Goins’s philosophy for building a “safe and nurturing environment.” In the second half, she shares her approaches to curriculum organization, discipline, and reinforcing her expectations for cooperation and quality work.
Goins’s love for her students shines through, as does her passion for organization as she delivers her lists of rules, routines, and supports, which include samples of how she schedules her day. Her passion for equity—giving every student the chance to be successful—shows in the “Real Talk” sayings she uses to redirect, role model, and remind her students they are part of a team.
Goins’s success with PART depends to some extent on her own energy, attitude, and focus; some readers may find the approach doesn’t grow their student relationships in the same ways. Still, fellow teachers might eagerly borrow some of her ideas, like offering early finisher tasks and rewards, such as her “sprinkle doughnut” model for encouraging quality work or the “baseball” game she uses as an end-of-week activity.
The prose is strong and clear and Goins’s personal stories of her childhood, marriage, parenting, and ministry add weight to her philosophy. Unfortunately, she doesn’t give examples of interacting with individual students, which makes her advice feel general and sometimes vague, though concluding testimonies from parents and students testify to Goins’s belovedness.
Despite occasionally showing its seams, Goins’s book offers helpful philosophy and strategies that reflect her commitment to teaching “the whole child the necessary skills and strategies to be successful in life, in and out of the classroom.”
Also available as an ebook.