We all learned various strategies of classroom management during our teacher prep courses in college. But in reality, when that door closes it is only you and 25-30 students you must take control of in order to have a flourishing learning environment. If you cannot control your classroom, it’s going to be a very rough year. Sadly, teachers have left the teaching profession due to their lack of managing behavior in the classroom. So how do you avoid this same consequence?
First of all, what are your rules? Have your students had any say in establishing them? Have students been given the opportunity to learn and practice them? Are the rules posted? All of these items will combine to help create success in managing behavior in the classroom.
Or maybe it is just that one student, or when you are managing small groups that is the thorn in your flesh. Whatever it is, your classroom needs to be under your control!
Below are some suggestions you may want to try:
Try something new. Do you have a behavior system? Here’s one possibility: Behavior Chart Calendars. Use this as a tool to communicate with parents on daily behavior. This is easy enough for students to fill out on their own to take accountability. You can find one like this for only $5 at teacherspayteachers.com . Another possibility is to use a Marble Jar. Put a marble in the jar whenever you catch the class being good. When the jar is full offer some type of reward for the entire class! But remember. Stick with a system for a good amount of time. Do not switch methods every week!
Keep students engaged. Behavior problems often develop when children are bored. Make sure it is understood what students are to do if they finish early. You might have this posted on a board, or they automatically know to go to the computer to complete a task. Keep books and other reading materials available!
Review the rules. Sometimes a solution is as easy as reviewing the rules. Children tend to forget, especially if they report to multiple teachers with different sets of rules.
Be consistent. This is one of the hardest guidelines to follow, yet often the main key to successful classroom management. If there is a consequence for a certain behavior, give it. Students will learn to respect your limits and boundaries.
Call parents or guardians. Never assume parents know how a child behaves in class, nor that parents don’t care. Communicate with them positively and honestly. See what things they have used at home that may work with their child.
Time to talk. If you have older students who tend to be more social, try giving them 2-3 minutes at the beginning, end, or middle of class to chat. That helps them to feel that you are understanding of them and their particular needs.
Just know that there are some years that you will have “that class” who is more challenging. We have all had them. That year may require more chocolate or coffee intake. Trudge through it with the thought that “next year will be better!”