Effective classroom management strategies can ensure a pleasant teaching environment for the entire year. Conversely, poor classroom management may lead to a difficult class and a year that drags on. These tips will get you well on your way to creating a positive environment in your classroom.
as the teacher must set the example (1)
Students need to know what is expected of them from the very beginning. It is also useful to have visuals of the rules so that you can redirect small misbehavior problems by pointing at the appropriate rule poster. Since I have very little artistic talent I had my students create the posters for me. We went over the rules the first day of class and I had students each create a poster for two rules. We displayed all the posters for the first week. I later had the students vote on a single poster for each rule to leave up.
Students may occasionally break a rule. It is important that you have established a procedure for dealing with infractions. The consequences must be appropriate and clear so the student knows what to expect. Go over all consequences at the beginning of the school year and review if necessary.
Model appropriate behavior.
Since one of my rules is to respect everyone in the classroom, I make sure to be respectful to my students. Remember that you as the teacher must set the example. It will be difficult to get the students to follow your rules if you make exceptions for other students or yourself. If you also follow the rules it shows that they are important and will allow your classroom to feel like a community. Also be sure to thank your students when appropriate; we all like to be appreciated.
Develop a routine for beginning your class.
Students often misbehave when they are bored or frustrated. You can prevent some of this boredom by beginning class immediately and in a predictable fashion. Students like to know what to expect. I prefer to begin immediately after the bell rings so students know that our class time is valuable. Try to avoid beginning with verbally taking roll as students will become distracted and talk amongst themselves during this time. Since my school requires roll to be taken within the first five minutes of class I take roll silently while the students work on a warm-up opening activity. Write a daily schedule on the board so students can see what is coming next. Having a visual guide to the class time will help the students make transitions between activities. A visual schedule will also prevent some questions about what time is break and “how long do we have to do this?”
Plan more activities than you think you’ll have time for and always have a back-up plan. Most behavior problems occur when students get bored. Be sure you have engaging lessons to prevent this for most students. Also keep in mind that overhead-bulbs die and other technical issues happen so be sure that the lesson can go on even if something goes wrong. Prepare engaging enrichment activities for the students that finish early. No matter how much you plan, sometimes students will still finish early. You will want to be sure that activities that these students will enjoy are available. When I plan units, I include extra activities that could be used for these situations. Silent reading is also a good option as reading is always valuable. This could be a book of the student’s choice or a book you provide.
Reward good behavior.
Many students are eager to please and will appreciate their good efforts. Small rewards also work wonders. I use “Thank You Tickets” to thank the students for good behavior and appropriate class participation. These tickets can be traded for small prizes such as candy, pencils, or homework passes.
Since your rules and the consequences are clearly posted it will be easy to enforce them the same for everyone. It will also be very obvious if you make exceptions for any one student. This will cause you to lose respect from all of the students and will make it difficult to manage your class. Be sure the rules are the same for everyone in the classroom. Also be sure to avoid confrontations with any students. Singling out one student will make that student confrontational and will likely distract your entire class. It is best to deal with behavior problems privately.
Use a seating chart.
At the beginning of the year, you will definitely want a seating chart while learning the students’ names. Seating charts also help a substitute or classroom visitor as students respond better when the teacher knows and uses their names. At the beginning of the year I create a random seating chart by numbering desks and creating a set of index cards with matching numbers. I give students a card as they walk in and that is the assigned seating chart for the first week. It is also important to change this chart once you know the students as some students will need to be moved or separated. I find it helpful to change the seating several times a year to keep things interesting. Depending on your class, you could also offer to let them choose their own seats if they behave well for a set amount of time.
thirty of them and only one of you (2)
The students have only five hours daily, five days a week, for nine months, counting holidays, to learn and practice many new skills. There is a vast store of new knowledge for them to comprehend and memorize. You must see that they accomplish all this, and you must do it without using physical punishment, without causing them undo stress or anxiety, and preferably without raising your voice. As you advance in your career, you will amass many strategies for managing your classroom well and practicing effective discipline strategies. In the meantime, here are a few suggestions you may find helpful:
(1).Attach name cards to the desks before the students arrive the first day. Instruct them to sit in the seat with their name on it. If you need to reprimand someone, it’s much easier and more effective if you can address the child by name. Seating arrangements can be adjusted later.
(2). Forget about group seating for the first few weeks at least. Arrange the desks in rows. Children are social beings, and like us, if they’re in a group, they will chat. You want all attention focused on you.
(3) After the first few days rearrange the desks. Place potential behavior problems and those with vision or hearing difficulties at the front of the classroom. Independent workers and more responsible students will be fine near the back.
(4) Ensure that every child has an extra activity in his desk to work on when an assignment is finished: a book, a puzzle, or an Art project. Older children can begin homework. You know the old adage about idle hands…
(5) Most parents can be valuable allies. Alert them by phone when problems occur, but also call them with good news. When a child is working hard, gets good marks on a test, or does something kind for you or a classmate, let them know. It will make their day.
(6) Don’t skip recess or Physical Education activities. Children are naturally active. When they have a chance to burn off excess energy they’ll be better able to focus on schoolwork when they return to the classroom.
(7) Reward good behavior. Monthly certificates for “Best Listener”, “Most Improved”, “Most Responsible”, accompanied by a small prize, will result in a decline in discipline problems.
(8) I found the following strategy to be effective for more persistent behavioral issues. With the principal’s knowledge and permission, issue a request by phone that the parent of the offender visit the class for half a day. Relate truthfully the problem you’re having with the child. When the parent arrives, place Mom or Dad on a chair right beside the child’s desk. You will probably have a very quiet morning or afternoon session.
However, the culprit has been embarrassed in front of his friends, and the parent will be annoyed because he had to miss work, and experience a long, boring half-day. You can be sure he will lay down the law to his offspring when they get home. The other children certainly won’t want a similar fate to befall them. At the very least, you should have a quiet, hard-working class for the next several weeks.
(9) Be aware of the specialized help available to you and don’t hesitate to take advantage of these professionals. Many school boards employ consultants in different areas: literacy experts, an Audio-visual consultant, a Special Education Department, etc. There are also community resources which you can access: Family and Children’s Services, the Parks and Recreation Commission, and Service Clubs for speakers for special occasions.
(10) Make it a point to visit the Staff Room often. It helps to know you’re not alone and that others are experiencing the same problems you are. You’ll share in the solutions your fellow teachers have found. You’ll catch up on happenings in their lives, maybe have a coffee and relax for a few minutes. Laughter, conversation and fellowship are great tonics. You’ll return to the classroom refreshed and ready to put on your “Teacher” hat again.
Your reward will come in June. Most of the children will be going to the next grade, the others will have suitable placements arranged for them in September, the parents will thank you, you’ll have a relaxing vacation ahead, or perhaps an interesting course scheduled, and you’ll probably have a sumptuous “end-of-the-year” dinner planned with your colleagues.But best of all will be the satisfaction you feel deep inside for having done your best for the thirty children entrusted to you during the past year. You have been an important part of their lives for nine months and you have shared yourself, your efforts and your essence, with them. What you have given, they will carry with them into the future. You can rest assured, Teacher, you have made a difference.
establish rules on the first day (3)
It is that time of year, school is starting, kids and teachers alike are returning to the daily grind. The new school year brings challenges for all, including a new classroom, new teacher, and new classmates. As a former high school and middle school teacher, here is a compiled list of the top ten tips for classroom management and discipline.
Establish rules from day one
Kids need rules. They actually thrive when presented with rules and structure. The best thing a teacher can do is establish rules on the first day of school. Let the children know what is and is not acceptable from day one.
Create a democracy
Let the children help decide on the punishment for disobeying classroom rules. They will be more accepting of the reprimand if they decided on it. With this said, the teacher is still ultimately in control, but letting the students be a part of the discipline helps them understand it.
Consistency is the key to discipline and classroom management. Children must know what to expect from their behavior. Never as a teacher, make exceptions for certain students. Treat all children the same as far as the consequences for their behavior.
Start out strict
Be the strictest with all students during the first few weeks of school. If after that you have a class that is well behaved, you can lighten up a bit. However, remember that you can never, and I repeat never go stricter once you have been lenient. It is always better to be the disciplinarian in the beginning and ease up after you know your students.
Establish a routine
Just as children thrive on rules and consistency, they also flourish under a routine. Create a classroom routine, when you come in you sit down and begin this, then we will do this, and in conclusion, this will happen. Let the students know how the class period will run and do not deviate from the routine except for special circumstances.
Create a seating chart
This is the quintessential rule every college of education will tell you. Yet, what they do not tell you is, create the seating chart on your terms, not based on alphabetical order. Get to know your students before making the permanent seating chart. This way you will know who complements each other and who contrasts one another. It may take a few weeks in the beginning of the year or semester, but will be well worth the time in the long-term.
A place for everything and everything in its place
This tip goes along with expectation and classroom rules, but is a little more specific. From the first day of class, be certain the students know where classroom materials belong and to return them to their home. If they do not, let the students know they will be penalized dependent upon the preexisting consequences. This will be different for every grade level. At the high school level, it may be a reduction in privileges, such as lunch off campus. A middle school child might lose the right of creating the bulletin board this month. The punishment should always fit the crime.
Post the school schedule
Think about the last time you started a new job. Did you want to know when lunch and breaks were? Of course, you did and so do children. At the beginning of the year, quarter, or semester, whichever is the case; always post the school schedule. This lets students know when they have recess, lunch, study hall, or just when the class period is over. Everyone, no matter who you are, likes to know what is coming next. The simple act of posting a schedule that is visible for all will prevent chaos in your classroom.
Always cover school rules
There is nothing like not taking ownership for a rule that is already in place. Just as you cannot blame the police officer for giving you a ticket for not wearing your seatbelt, when you know it is the law, a student cannot blame the teacher for disobeying an established, pre-existing school rule. Going over school policies and procedures at the beginning of the year can save you much trouble throughout the school year. Students and parents are reluctant to question rules stated in the school handbook. Therefore, as a teacher, always read aloud with your students the school’s standard policies and procedures.
Give students jobs
Kids like to feel important and a part of something bigger, it is a trait inherent in all of us. Once you have classroom rules and expectations established, create jobs for the students. For example, rotate the attendance taker, each week have a different group responsible for the bulletin board, and even let students from different classes grade papers. Jobs such as these give children not only a sense of responsibility, but also of belonging and importance. This in turn generates a mutual respect between the student and teacher.
Always have a conclusion to your class. This ending should wrap up everything the children learned throughout the period. You, as a teacher, are in it together with your students. They have a need to learn and you have a need to teach. You complete each other, whether or not the children recognize that. Remember, we are discussing children; from 5 years old to 18 years of age, they are still children. As adults, you must recognize that and treat them so. If you do it correctly, you will find the students crave that.