As I have said before, I have not had a lot of experience when it comes to being a teacher. I’ve only been doing this for 3 years, but one thing that I made sure I had a good handle on, even during my student teacher, was classroom management.
If you have a rowdy class, or even just one or two students who tend to get a little out of hand, it is important to have a plan in your head before it happens.
- Start The Year Strong….then you can back off (but not too much!!): What I mean by this is, if you start the year off letting your students know who is boss (you), then they will respect you. Have your rules for your classroom set in stone, be harsh about them, do not cut any slack whatsoever. If you have clear rules and clear consequences set in stone from day one, the year will go smoothly. To help your students understand exactly what you mean when it comes to the classroom rules, show them. A large number of the population learns better when they can see someone doing whatever it is that they are being taught. Lead your students to understand your rules by example. Take the first couple of days to really hone in on the rules and show them examples of ways they would be breaking or following a rule. Then there will be no questions about it later. Then after maybe the first month or two of school you can let the reigns go a little.
- Be friendly and Smile: Something as simple as a smile can build such a strong relationship between a student and his or her teacher. A smile helps them to know that you not only care about them, but you are also being polite and kind, which they will then return back to you. As silly as it sounds, if your students like you, they’re more likely to want to listen to you. Another thing to add to this, say hi to your students (past, present and even future) in the hallways. You would be surprised what a simple “Good Morning, Alex” could do for a student. They could be having the worst day, and something as simple as a teacher taking a minute to say hello, and use their name, could change that completely around.
- Have fun! : Learning is very important, but that doesn’t mean that the kiddos don’t deserve to have some fun too! In my computer class there will be days when I have a lesson planned and ready to go, however if a class walks in and I notice that they seem like they’ve had a rough day, I might give them a free day. There is no reason to not allow them a little bit of time to relax. Or we might play a quick fun game before we start a lesson. There are so many different ways that you and your students can have fun and still be learning! Take advantage of those opportunities, I promise you and your kiddos will thank me later!
- Find a fun and effective way to get their attention: There are so many ways to get your students attention. You can even let them help you pick out how you get their attention that way they know what to expect. With my smaller kiddos some of my favorites are: “1 2 3 eyes on me” and then they will repeat back to me “1 2 eyes on you”. I also on occasion will clap a pattern and they know they are supposed to repeat it back to me. Now sometimes you could try every little trick in the book and they’re still not going to get it. So what do you do when that happens?? I talk in the quietest voice possible, sometimes I’ll give a command. For example; I’ll whisper, “If you can hear my clap 3 times” and maybe 1 or 2 kids will clap. Then that will get some more kids attention, keep going and soon enough you’ll have the whole classes attention. One thing that I have noticed that is not very effective (although I have been guilty of this many times, especially with my older students), is standing in the front of the room with your arms crossed….waiting. The problem with that one is then you have students saying “shhhhhhh!!!!!” and that just adds to the noise and you begin to waste valuable instruction time.
- Stay Calm: Yes that may be easier said than done, especially if your class is having a particularly rough day. But if they can look at you and know that you can keep it together (even if on the inside you feel like running and hiding in the corner to cry and rock back and forth…yeah we all know that feeling!), then they are more likely trust you and listen to you. Staying calm gives the students the opportunity to be in a safe learning environment which is only fair to them. If they feel safe, they are more likely to succeed.
Like I said, there are so many more tips that I could give you. However these are the ones that I try to focus on each year! To my fellow teacher friends out there, leave in the comments below what works for you and your classroom!
Does someone want to tell me where the time went?? I feel like it should still be June…or at least July! But here we are already in August and the countdown to going back to school has officially begun!
We officially start school in 17 days…..17 days!!! I am in complete shock but I am also ready for a steady schedule again. But I am also not even close to ready…
My room is not ready for the kiddos to be in it, my lesson plans are not done yet and there are so many other things that I need to do that I haven’t had a chance to start yet. Am I a little stressed out?? Yes, definitely! But I’m trying my hardest not to be, I mean after all I still have 17 days to get my act together right?!?!
Though I may not be fully prepared (which to my defense is not fully my fault…I am waiting on tables that I ordered which will be here soon…YAY!!), there are some things that I made sure to have prepared!
- Classroom management plan: If you come in to the first day of school with no classroom management plan, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. I am trying something new this year (I have a separate blog post where I will talk about that more coming soon!!) Once you decide what your classroom management plan is going to be, stick with it! You can always back down, but you can’t get more strict, I can promise you that it will not work!
- Early Finisher Options: After last year I did some research because I did not have these in place, I mean right now I teach computer so I didn’t think I would need them. But it turns out that just giving kids free reigns on the computers was a little bit of a headache! So I’ve come up with a few “early finisher” options (specific websites) that they are allowed to go on once they have completed their tasks for the day. My hope is that it will make the computer lab a little less crazy!!
- Lesson Plans: Yes I know earlier I said that my lesson plans weren’t completed, and they’re not. I have all of my plans done up through Christmas break. I know you’re probably thinking “why are you worried if you planned that far ahead already?!?” Well I only teach computer one day a week, and I teach it to preschool – 8th grade and time goes by a little more quickly that you think. I would feel better knowing I have something planned rather than having nothing planned at all.
Would I like to have more things done than I do? Yes of course! But am I going to stress out about not having things done? Nope! It will all get done in due time!
To all my fellow teacher friends out there, what do you make sure that you have ready before school starts?? Does anyone else feel like summer went by way too fast?? Leave your answers in the comments below!
I could sit here and list a lot more than just one reason as to why I became a teacher. But then we would be here all day and nobody wants that!
One of my favorite quotes can sum it all up…
“To teach is to touch a life forever”
I haven’t had that many years of experience, but I can tell you that I have worked with a large number of kiddos that have helped me to realize that I was meant to be a teacher and that working with kiddos is my passion.
Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to be a teacher. I used to put my stuffed animals around a table, give them homework and then grade it. Yes…I just said I gave my stuffed animals homework and graded it! Hey I had to practice on someone right??
To be honest, I enjoy helping people in general but there is something so much more fulfilling about helping a child. The look on their face when they understand a concept or when they get a good grade…the look of pure joy…that is everything. All my fellow teacher friends out there you know exactly what I’m talking about. To all of my readers who are parents, I’m sure you’ve seen this look on your child’s face as well and you know how amazing it is to see them succeed.
Am I trying to tell you that teaching is all rainbows and unicorns? No way! Have there been rough days? Yes, of course. There have been days where I went in the bathroom and cried during my break. In fact there was one point in my first year out of college that I thought to myself…”What am I doing??” and wondered if I had made the right decision. Then one of my kiddos come up to me and give me a big hug and tell me how much they loved having me as a teacher. With each hug one of my kiddos gives me I am reminded why I love what I do and why I chose teaching as my profession. In my eyes the good times will always outweigh the bad times.
To all the first year teachers out there or to all of the college students working towards an education degree, keep going. If this is what makes you happy and this is your passion, don’t let anyone, and I mean anyone, take that away from you.