Classroom management is one of the most challenging things to deal with in the modern day classroom. I know for me the thorn in my side are those 1-3 students throughout my day that really do give me fits. Last semester I had a kid who would directly challenge me in class just to see what I would do. I have been teaching for 22 years and can handle most situations, but it is rare when a kid goes right at you in class. Eventually he backed off as I did my best to get him down with my system of learning. In this blog post I will try and give teachers some tools to help better prepare teachers for the rigor of the classroom.
1. BE AWARE: I know last year my student teacher had a student in class who busted out a full Chinese meal in class with a whole bottle of soy sauce and chop sticks in class. It was actually kind of funny but my student teacher did not even notice it. That is tip #1 is to be ultra aware of what is going on in your classroom. Walk around take a good hard look around at what students are doing if they are working on something. You really want to keep them on task as much as possible.
2. KEEP THEM BUSY: Many times the behaviors that are not wanted could be avoided if the students had more to do. If the teacher is busy talking to the students the whole time and they are not taking notes they will more than likely get into trouble. A good example of this would be last week when my student teacher was reading to them about the weapons of WWI. The students start thinking about checking their phones, irritating other students nearby or just plane harassing the teacher. I heard something last week that really struck a chord with me and that was measure what you manage. Which means assess or check for understanding what you are teaching. For me that means there is always something the students are doing with the material and there is always some way of assessing what they took away from the experience.
3. RELATIONSHIP OVER HARSHNESS: I believe students want to please most teachers. Unfortunately our job is getting more difficult every day with the technology becoming more accessible and attractive as time goes by. On the first couple days of any semester I really focus on having a good relationship with the students over anything else. By doing this you will be able to do almost anything in your classroom. Coming off harsh or verbally beating them up is no way to get the most out of your students. My student teacher this year has done that and unfortunately the students are not responding. In fact they are going the other direction, why? Well, students do not automatically give respect to teachers just because, it needs to be earned.
4. PULLING STUDENTS OUT: If you have ever seen the show cops and watch how they work with difficult situations there is a lot that we as teachers can learn from how they handle things. My personal favorite observation is when they have 2 difficult people and they separate them and interview them separately. If I am ever having a problem in my classroom with a student I always pull them outside and deal with them separately. First of all the students appreciate not being embarrassed in front of other students and they also appreciate the privacy of being outside. After going outside I really try to listen to their side first. Maybe they are having a bad day, maybe they have family problems or something else going on.
5. THE POWER OF THE PHONE CALL HOME: This widely known strategy is probably the best strategy for getting things done. The parents want to know when things are not going well so why not let them know. For some reason at the high school level we do not do this. I want to encourage it as a great way to help with things in the classroom.
6. BE CLEAR AND FAIR: At the beginning of each semester I really strive to stick to what I say on my syllabus. This is important because students will test you to see if you will mean what you say and say what you
mean. If you don’t they will not respect you and you will have lost them for a bit. As I put policies in place I try to be CLEAR and FAIR with each policy and with all of the grading done as well. This allows the students to feel safe and secure in an environment that fosters potentially good learning experiences for all.
Here are some additional tips in case you are wondering what I do:
- Send outside and talk with
- Give a detention through the school
- Send up to the Principal or Assistant Principal
- Call home and discuss with parents
- Try and get switched to another class
I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about how to have better classroom management. Feel free to email me if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org