Sunday, February 15, 2015

3 Steps to Improve Classroom Management

Teaching can be so much fun!  ...And it can also be very stressful.  One of the things that used to stress me out the most was the potential for misbehavior.  I dislike hate LOATHE having to deal with classroom disruptions & misbehavior!  However, I stress a little less about it now since I have a plan of action.

Step 1: Create a culture of respect & community in your classroom.
From the first day of class, lead your students by being the model of respect.  Model respect with how you speak to the kids.  Model respect with how you address misbehaving students.  Reiterate, over & over & over, that you are all part of one family.  I really love kicking off the year by showing the Kid President pep talk:
After I show the video, I explain to the students why this video is so meaningful for me.  I post Kid President quotes around the room.  It is so important to model the behavior & love & awesomeness discussed in the Kid President video if you want to make it real for your students.  If you show the video, & the next minute you're yelling at a kid for doing something wrong, then your words about respect & community will mean nothing.
See more about building classroom community here.

Step 2: Make sure you recognize the good kids every day.
If I have a class of 30 students, and 28 are being AMAZING but 2 are causing a ruckus, then I will probably go home that day worrying about the 2 ruckus-causers.  I have to force myself to step back & recognize the good.
Here's an experiment: The next time you ask your kids to work on something in class, and a few kids are being silly, instead of 'getting-onto' the ruckus-causers, try a positive reinforcement approach--"I have just noticed that 25 of you are working so hard I really appreciate it!  I am so proud of you guys!"  You'll notice that the few who were off task will probably get the message & will start working because they want positive recognition, too.  It may not always get the ruckus-causers to work, but at least the kids who are working will feel proud because they will know you were talking to them.  :)
I also try to send home emails to parents whenever I see someone being awesome.  Parents are terrified to see a teacher email in their inbox... Until they see it's a positive note!  How fun!  They will really appreciate you taking the time to brag on their kid.
See more of my ideas for positive (and free) reinforcement here.

Step 3: Set clear expectations & follow-thru with consequences.
At the beginning of the year, I explain my expectations.  Then, every day after that, I follow-thru with keeping the kids accountable to my expectations.  If they don't meet my expectation, I tell them so.  I give an appropriate consequence.  I do this with love & respect.  What is your plan when they fall short of these expectations?  I put kids on my discipline board.  If the students notice that a student has not met an expectation, and you don't call them on it, then other kids will soon stop meeting expectations as well.

When you set your expectations, make sure you know (and explain to the class) why each expectation is important to you.

  • Why do you want to kids to be quiet while your teaching? (my answer: I consider it to be disrespectful if you're talking while I'm talking.)  
  • Why do you ask the kids to keep their hands to themselves?  (my answer: Do you like it when people put their hands on you?) 
  • Why is it a big deal to come prepared? (my answer: As an adult, if you come to work unprepared, your boss is going to see you as unreliable.)  

If you set an expectation, be ready to explain (in a meaningful way) why it is important.  If it's not important, consider letting it go.

Once I had a conversation with a fellow teacher & I was talking about a difficult task I was requiring my students to complete.  The teacher looked at me & asked, Are they actually doing it?  I said, Yes.  She looked a little shocked because we teach a lot of the same kids & she couldn't quite understand how I could get them to do this activity.  She asked What do you do if someone doesn't do it?  And my response was, They don't have an option.
Sometimes our kids are not going to do what we want.  Sometimes adults don't want to do what their bosses require of them.  This is life, people!

What are your tips for classroom management?  Please share them here & tell us about the techniques that help you deal with student misbehavior when/if it arises.

Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. You inspired me to create Haskertopia. :) Thank you for writing such a great blog!