As an aspiring teacher, my professors constantly taught us that classroom management was one of the most important tasks I had to complete. Without an organized and working classroom, you really can’t get across much content. I’m probably being kind of redundant because if you’re reading this, you probably understand the importance of a disciplined classroom. However, it’s easier said than done. Below are 10 basic classroom management tips for new teachers!
1. Start the year off STRONG
When you’re a pushover or when students sense meekness/weakness, they WILL take advantage of it. Project an aura of confidence. Speak loudly and always wait for your class to quiet down before speaking. If you have a soft voice like me, consider getting a classroom mic like this one: https://amzn.to/2JGMuOw. At the beginning of the school year, be “meaner” and then loosen up as the year goes on. Trust me… it’s better this way. It’s much more difficult to try to become strict over time.
2. Create classroom rules together (rules and consequences)
Something I am planning to do as a new teacher is creating a set of classroom rules together with my students on the absolute first day of school. On your syllabus, create a blank area for students to create and write down rules. Induce students to speak up and create a respectful environment on the first day to get started on the right note. Some inspirational posters can help! https://amzn.to/2JRfB21 At the end of the syllabus, have students and parents/guardians sign and return a half sheet with their contact info as well. Keep them handy in a binder for upcoming parent conferences and meetings.
3. Really, really enforce those rules
Accountability is an important aspect of any human interaction. Really stick to those rules that you and your students created on the first day and when there are discrepancies, enforce them the way you see fit. Don’t let things slide by without acknowledgment. You don’t have to yell or punish, just note and remind your students to be responsible.
4. Motivate students creatively
I am a high school teacher and by this time in students’ lives, they know what the dealio is with most teachers. It’s good to keep them on their toes with fun classroom management ideas. Be creative! Some of my rather “out of the box” ideas are:
- to create a cell phone parking lot for participation points or a snack. https://amzn.to/2XSFNy1
- to have a plant for each group that they can only water when they’re working well
- have a mood board for each student that they can change each day https://amzn.to/2XW3NAy
5. SHOW students how the class will proceed daily and beyond (agenda)
Students respond well to an organized classroom. When they know what to do and how to do it, they’re the most engaged! Having a clear agenda of the day’s operations up on the board and then taking a minute to verbally tell them really helps them to settle down and get their minds in the zone. If you want to be extra, you can even outline the day through apps like Remind or your own website/newsletter so they know what’s going on. This also helps lighten the load of “What are we doing today?” type questions. A calendar like this will help! https://amzn.to/2SllY1a
6. Build classroom morale
Something I like to do with my classes is to give each period a nickname. Students come up with really funny names and it helps them to think of the class as a group. If you teach numerous periods of the same subject, you can create a healthy and fun competition between your class periods (this also discourages cheating).
7. Handle issues privately
Don’t pick on students, even if they ask for it. Always try to do it covertly while the class is working on something, by using a non-verbal cue, giving a stern look… etc. Picking on a student publicly distracts the entire class and it wastes time trying to focus them again.
8. Walk around
Don’t just stay in the front of the classroom. It’s just bad practice… bores students and creates an artificial boundary between the teacher and students. Walking around discourages students from texting, sleeping, and talking too much about off-topic things. Walking around creates a dynamic classroom and fun lectures!
9. Give directions in many ways
I kind of alluded to this in #5, but don’t give directions only verbally. Chances are that over half of your students were zoning out or thinking about something else. I’m sure that we can relate… even as teachers now. So give directions verbally, visually, kinesthetically… in as many ways as you can! That way, students can snap right back into the class and know exactly what they are supposed to be doing, without asking their nearby friends.
10. Don’t take things personally
Last but not least… never take what students do to heart. There’s really not much that a student can say or do to hurt you… even if you think they’re really trying. Don’t get too emotional with regards to classroom management. Maintain an air of dignity and respect and your students will sense this.
Thank you all for reading and I hope these snippets of my experiences and plans really help you out. As always, life is as peachy as you make it.