Most people believe that being a teacher solely entailed doling information in front of a class. While this is a large part of what educators do, one of the most important skills a teacher ought to develop is classroom management.
Managing a classroom, especially if you are dealing with young children, is a challenge. Truth be told, children do not necessarily abide by social norms adults do. Some of them find it difficult to pay attention and remain in their seats for class.
Teaching entails a certain kind of person. Those who are patient, passionate, and selfless prove to be the best fit. Nevertheless, even if you have all the attributes that make a good teacher, classroom management can be difficult to master. Like most things, it takes practice and dedication.
When it comes to struggling with classroom management, you aren’t alone. Thankfully, you don’t have to tackle the endeavor on your own. Below are a few ways that can help you manage a class effectively:
How To Manage a Class Effectively
As discussed earlier, classroom management takes a lot of practice. You learn best by doing. However, this doesn’t mean that you should go into the trenches unprepared.
Breed Positivity in your Classroom
Building a good relationship with your students is the foundation of effective classroom management. After all, it would be easier to communicate with your class if they comfortable with you and they trust your judgments.
The best way to develop a healthy relationship with your students is by breeding positivity in your classroom. Creating a safe space for discussion, questions, and conversations would encourage your children to open up. At the end of the day, respect goes two ways.
Be Clear with Your Rules at the Onset
It can be very difficult to follow rules if your students aren’t aware of the rules in the first place. To be fair, even adults would find it difficult to abide by guidelines they don’t know. With that said, it is important to be clear about your expectations early in the school year.
Discuss your classroom rules with your students. Make it a point to create an atmosphere of conversation when you are discussing. Let them ask questions about your rules. Don’t put your student’s opinions about the rules down. The last thing you want is to seem like you are running a dictatorship.
Contrary to popular belief, a classroom isn’t a platform for teachers to perform declamation pieces. Communication within the confines of the school should run both ways.
In order to manage your classroom effectively, it is important to encourage your students to discuss and ask questions. As their teacher, it is your responsibility to build a space free from judgment and shame. If you can, try not to go on one-person soliloquies for more than five minutes. Instead of answering all questions yourself, encourage other students to help their peers.
Don’t be Stingy with Praise
Contrary to popular belief, praising a student can do wonders for their performance and overall self-esteem. According to plenty of research, praise is a powerful means to motivate a student to do better and be the best version of themselves.
With that said, it is best to focus on the effort and not the accomplishments themselves. Moreover, it is good practice to be specific with your praises. At the end of the day, doling out praises is free - you shouldn’t be stingy with it.
Address Behaviors Quickly
Especially if you are teaching in the lower grades, there is no space for ambiguity when it comes to the classroom rules that you have in place. It is necessary that you address behaviors swiftly and clearly. Do not let misbehavior fester. Doing so undermines the importance of the rules that you have set.
With that said, by no means should you embarrass a student in front of the class. If you can, take them aside after class to discuss their behavior. It is always best to take a positive approach even in difficult classroom situations.
Be Prepared and Engaging
Probably the simplest way to manage a classroom is through the lesson that you have prepared. At the end of the day, students would listen and pay attention if the topic that you have prepared is interesting and engaging.
Make it a point to create lessons that are interactive. Have activities for your students and include them in the discussion. Doing so would prevent them from misbehaving altogether.
Common Classroom Management Mistakes
Knowing the enemy is half the battle won. The same is true when it comes to the pitfalls of classroom management. Knowing the mistakes that you should avoid can help you steer clear of them.
At the onset, the classroom rules that you impose should be rules that make sense in the class that you are teaching. After all, students are very aware of how repercussions are carried out in the classroom.
One of the biggest mistakes teachers make when it comes to classroom management is being inconsistent. Inconsistencies invalidate the rules that you have created. It breeds inequality within the classroom. The last thing you want is a student implying favoritism.
Not Following Through
Like the rules, it is necessary to develop punishment that is realistic for the children that you are imposing the guidelines on. The repercussions should be commensurate to the infraction. It is best to stay away from punishments that are embarrassing to a student.
Empty threats undermine your authority. Too many of those and you are at the risk of not being taken seriously and losing control over the class.
Failing to Address an Issue
As discussed earlier, it is important to nip issues in the bud to avoid space for questioning and ambiguity. The clearer the rules are easier it for students to follow them. Failing to address an issue puts your rules into question. Moreover, not being able to discuss a student’s behavior might worsen the situation in the long run.
This cannot be stressed enough - you shouldn’t in no way shape or form embarrass your student especially in front of the class. Respect begets respect. By shaming your students, you open your classroom to developing a culture of disrespect.
Remember - shaming a student provides no real benefits - neither to you nor the child themselves. It isn’t worth the effort.
Tips in Improving Your Teaching Skills
As with every profession, there are various opportunities to grow and improve as a teacher. It is important to hone your craft because doing so can change your children’s lives. Thankfully, while it does take work, it isn’t difficult to put in the effort to become the best teacher you can be.
Take Time to Rest
As cliche as it sounds, you cannot give what you do not have. Being a teacher is a mentally and physically exhausting job. You are, after all, giving so much of yourself to your students. Running yourself thin would reflect on the kind of lessons that you give.
It is important to take time to rest and recuperate. Spend time with family and friends. Do things that you love to do on the weekends. Eat well and sleep soundly. Doing so can improve your performance as a teacher.
Review and Reflect
Hindsight is 20/20. More often than not, there would be situations wherein you would fail to conduct yourself in the best way possible. Instead of berating yourself for your mistakes, it is better to take the time to reflect on what had happened and create an action plan for the future.
Knowing what pushed your buttons would help you develop coping mechanisms that can prevent the same mistakes from happening again.
Highlight the Positives
There is no denying how better students perform when they are enveloped by a culture of positivity and acceptance. With that said, it is understandable to be frustrated, tired, and stressed. Being a teacher is difficult. The weight of responsibility for teachers is heavy.
However, if there is anything that should remain constant, regardless of the situation, is your decision to remain a positive influence on your students.
Solicit Feedback from Your Students
When it comes to your improvement, your students are your best resource. Make sure to listen to them when they complain in the classroom. While some of the complaints are nothing but whines, surely, there would be some that you can learn from.
Take advantage of yearly evaluations and take not of things that you can develop an action plan from.
Do Not be Afraid to Ask For Help
Aside from your students, your co-teachers can give you insightful tips as to how to become a better teacher. If you can, set a meeting with a seasoned educator in your school. This way you get a clearer picture of the community that you belong to.
Managing a classroom may be difficult. However, with diligence, you can develop techniques that would enable you to become effective. With hope, the tips and tricks above can steer you to the right direction.