“We all need someone who inspires us to do better than we know how.” ~ Anonymous
The first day with a new class often dictates what the rest of the year will be like. If we start the learning journey well with our learners then we can look forward to what the year ahead will bring. However, we must show our learners how to act in order to have a successful journey. How our learners approach that journey- their attitudes and behaviors- will determine if they end the journey better individuals than they were before they entered our classrooms. Even though classroom management isn’t adequately taught in most teacher development programs, I think it is one of the most important skills for a teacher. As an educator I hope to inspire my learners to be better individuals so that they have a positive impact on the world. I didn’t always adequately plan my classroom management. Sometimes, I struggled with classes at the start of the year and left the day in tears and feeling as if I wanted to quit being a teacher. I’ve learn from those days and want to share some of the lessons I learned with you as you begin your new classes. I hope you will find the following tips and resources valuable in the forthcoming school year! Watch the recording of my recent webinar on this topic here!
Tips and Resources
The following are a few ideas and resources from the Slideshare presentation to help you better manage your classroom:
Go in with a positive attitude!
Your mood impacts your students. If you meet a situation with anger you will only intensify your student’s reaction to the situation. However, if you stay calm then you can prevent a potential situation from escalating. A few ways to relax before you meet your students include exercising, eating breakfast, meditating, giving ourselves pep talks, and listening to soothing music. Do something relaxing to get you in a better mood.
Change your environment!
Prepare your classroom to meet the learning needs of your students. I have had a lot of success in setting up learning stations with places for students to relax and calm themselves, be by themselves to work on individual tasks, areas for group work and more. If a student can’t concentrate or is having a bad day then this set-up allows that student to go to the reading area or Leggo area and take the time needed to calm down and get away from the situation without disrupting the entire lesson. This is different than a time-out where the student is stuck sulking and getting more upset by the situation. In life outside school we tend to do something to get our minds off what is bothering us so I think we should allow our students to do this.
Keep students on task and accountable!
- Create leaders for each station who make sure to keep the area clean. Rotate leadership each week and for each statement so all kids get a chance to be a leader.
- Create a class calendar where you list due dates, special events, and leadership roles.
- Have logs at each station where students sign-in the date, time, and tasks they did at the station. You can have them fill in a form on a Google Doc so that it is always time stamped and dated.
- Walk around each day and ask students where they are in their work and help them create to do lists and personal daily calendars so they learn how to manage their time well.
Cup Group Management
- Give each group a stack of yellow, blue, and red cups.
- The top cup is the group’s status.
- Yellow= sunny and bright, everything is all right
- Blue= we are through, what should we do?
- Red= we have a problem we cannot solve alone
- Read more about this idea here!
Know your students and prepare ahead for their various learning needs and attention spans!
- Research their attention spans and plan tasks to meet these needs.
- Also have plans made for those who struggle with different learning needs like dyslexia, ADHD, migraines, etc.
- When one student disrupts the class, don’t yell or punish the student. Instead, try talking with the student and having that student suggest away to correct that behavior.
- Have conversations with your students to figure out why they behaved the way they did. Have them come up with ways to deal with any stress they are suffering from home or at school. You might find your students are dealing with a bully or a disruptive home situation. You can help your students positively react to life’s challenges and this will make them better individuals. Also, you can often stop patterns of behavior by taking a proactive approach. We do not always need to send students to the office or give them reprimands when these will not help them manage their behavior.
We learn in different ways. Make sure to daily include active tasks where students move around or participate in hands-on learning. Also, include in between these tasks rest periods where students read for a few minutes or gather in pairs to discuss a topic. Students need to move around and use up their energy or they will act up.
Make your students accountable for their behavior!
- Have students come up with the class rules and phrase them as “I will” statements. Also, have them come up with a few suitable consequences.
- These statements will go in their behavior contracts that they will sign, along with their parents, and you! Find many examples of student behavior contracts in the PearlTree.
- Allow each student to have a buddy who will help them be successful. I used this method with high school students and they were very good about notifying each other when they were acting up.
Manage behavior nonverbally!
- Use gestures to signal when it is time to listen, line up, and so forth.
- Post motivational posters and point to them when a student is acting up.
- One of my favorites quotes is from Dr. Seuss, “Today I will behave as if this is the day I will be remembered.”
- Communicate with each parent and create a bond!
- If the parent likes you then the student will respect you but if the parents disrespect you then the student will have more of a reason not to listen to you.
- Get parents on board with the rules and consequences in the class.
Every Friday I conduct a Free Webinar thanks to American TESOL. Please check the Livebinder for times, video archives, and more.
Try any of these ideas this year and tell us how it went.