While many people can argue this, classroom management is essentially the bread and butter for student success. To put it simply, effective teaching and learning cannot take place if a classroom is poorly managed. In fact, research has shown that teacher’s actions in their classrooms have twice the impact on student achievement as do school policies, student assessment, and community involvement.
Even with this importance, many teachers are ill prepared to handle the task of managing a group of 20 to 30+ students. To go even further, many first year teachers have reportedly stated that classroom management is one of their biggest challenges preventing them from teaching.
To help alleviate this problem, I have listed five key tips in improving a teacher’s classroom management. By making these small changes, even in the middle of the year, you will be able to establish a well-managed environment that welcomes students and observers the opportunity to learn and flourish on a daily basis.
1. Create Classroom Rules, Stay Simple
No matter what class you enter, there will always be rules and procedures that establish the overall tone of the class. As a first year teacher, you may be setting your sights on preconceived notions of how students will act when they enter your classroom. My advice is to prepare for the worst-case scenario. When it comes to your rules, start off by creating behavior-style rules that dictate how they should act in your class. These rules can be something like, ‘Do not speak when the teacher is speaking,’ or ‘Raise your hand if you want to stand up.’ After every rule, make sure you have a reason to why you have that rule. At times, kids are unable to comprehend the simplicity of your rules. Make sure there is no misunderstanding and explain it to the fullest. Last but not least, keep it simple. There is no point in having more than five rules. Anything more than five will eventually get lost in translation.
2. Speak in a Normal Voice
This is usually developed when you find your sweet spot later on in the year. As a teacher, we have a tendency to raise our voices, especially when we are reprimanding a student. Rather than giving the students a show and yelling your brains out, stay calm, cool, and collected. By utilizing your normal voice, you are gaining control of a bad situation and showing the student who is in charge. For there you can raise your voice or stay calm. Either way, the misbehaved student will receive the message.
3. Speak Only When Students are Quiet
This is a mistake all first year teachers make when they enter the classroom. Trust me, I have also done it myself. But no matter what, you should never let your students speak over you. Any instances of this can give them the idea that this type of negative behavior is accepted in the classroom. If it happens, make sure you point it out and negative that behavior.
4. Use Hand Signals
To help aid with your management, try and use certain hand signals to hand a student’s behavior. This can even be associated with specific phrases. This is a type of managing technique that takes time. But the more consistent you are with using it, the stronger it can play for your classroom.
5. Address ANY Negative Behavior
Do not let any slip through the crack! If there is any negative behavior from any student, make sure you address the situation, even if it takes time out of your lesson. At the end of the day, it is better to set off a few minutes to adjust a student’s behavior than a few minutes each day seeing the behavior pop up all throughout the year.