How do you keep your class focused? Because a class of students is filled with many different personalities, focus can sometimes be an elusive thing. All it takes is one student challenging your classroom rules – in a large or small way – to change the tone of the entire classroom that day. Other times there will be external forces at work, like an upcoming holiday or school-wide event. However, for you to be the most effective teacher you can be, you must be consistent despite the disruptions and challenges that occur on a daily basis. Here are a few classroom management tips to help you maintain balance in the classroom.
Classroom Management Tips
One way to maintain some consistency throughout the length and breadth of a school year is by employing these classroom management tips:
1. Greet Your Students Personally
Meeting each of your students at the door with a personal greeting helps to build rapport. This isn’t just a first-day-of-school technique – greeting your students as they come into your classroom should happen all year long. It lets them know that you see them as individuals and creates trust and respect… which carries over into the teaching and learning that happens once class begins.
2. Set Clear Expectations
Of course, the other part of the above tip is that you must communicate your expectations clearly. If you want your students to be respectful, you must tell them that. Model what that respect will look like in a number of situations – on the playground, in the hallway, and in your classroom. Respect for you as their teacher means no talking while you are talking. Respect for each other means being considerate of others’ feelings and ideas. Respect for themselves means their best efforts in everything they do in your classroom.
3. Assume the Best
Your students will behave as you expect them to. If you begin with the assumption that there will be misbehavior, chances are they will fulfill that expectation. However, if you expect the best from them and communicate these expectations, they will do everything they can to meet your assumptions about their character and abilities. It’s just human nature, and it’s at work in everyone from children to adults.
It’s likely you have certain procedures designed to make each day run smoothly. For some students, just telling them what those procedures are won’t be enough. Showing them, however, will help it stick. Interactive modeling will put actions to the words you use. If your morning routine includes coming in quietly, hanging up backpacks, stowing lunchboxes in cubbies, placing homework in a designated spot, and sitting down, demonstrate that procedure. As the year progresses, re-demonstrate it if need be.
5. Find the Right Tone of Voice
The tone of voice you use when speaking to your students matters. Using the wrong tone can have far-reaching effects, especially from your at-risk students. Every class will be different, so what worked for last year’s class might not quite fit the students you have this year. It might take a few days to get your tone just right, but once you do, the rewards can be big. Remember this when you must correct students, individually and as a group.
6. Correct Minor Infractions
Students will test boundaries. It’s up to you to correct these forays into poor behavior before they become larger issues. If your students learn that you won’t let even the smallest infraction slip by, you will maintain your authority over your class. Just be sure that your correction is proportional to the infraction.
7. Remain Positive
There will be days that challenge you and your students, no matter what. No one is immune to feeling defeated from time to time, and that feeling can spread if you allow it. As difficult as it might seem to remain positive in the face of challenges, you owe it to yourself and your class to turn negative feelings around. Take a deep breath and summon your powers of positivity.
8. Have a Plan
No teacher walks into the classroom unprepared. You know what your students need to learn, and you prepare the path for them to develop that knowledge. On the days when the planned lesson goes off the rails, having a backup plan (or three) will come in handy. Consider the overall personality of your class and develop a contingency plan that will help get your students back on track.
9. Praise and Recognize
It’s a boost to be praised for something you do well – and your students are no different. How you do it, however, will have a bearing on how your students receive such praise. Research suggests that over-the-top praise in front of the class serves little purpose for motivating students. However, delivering praise subtly and quietly –even something as simple as a pat on the back – makes it personal and effective. Build positive relationships with your students and they will want to learn with you.
A Great School Year Depends on Classroom Management
Classroom management is a big part of teaching. Maintaining focus and a sense of purpose in the classroom can be a challenge on some days. Building positive teacher-student relationships helps to diminish many of these challenges. If your school uses a PBIS framework, however, classroom expectations are part a larger framework of school-wide expectations. The reinforcement of these concepts school-wide can boost classroom management for every teacher.
What’s more, if your school uses PBIS Rewards, recognizing and rewarding students can be a great deal simpler with a digital token economy system. Acknowledging positive behavior is as easy as a quick scan or keystroke. Recognize one student or an entire class quickly, and move on to the next part of your lesson plan.