As you get ready to head back to the classroom or start your first year of teaching, you may be worried about classroom management. Believe me, it can be intimidating, but if you go about it the right way, there’s nothing to worry about. Read these useful tips from tried and true teachers and head back to school with confidence.
Build Relationships with Your Students
One of the simplest ways to gain trust and ensure a great year of classroom management with your students is by building relationships with them from day one. When students recognize that they can trust you as their teacher and you trust and respect them, they will show you nothing but positive behavior.
Make your classroom feel like a family. Invite them into the room, give them a greeting each morning, and make them feel heard and seen as an individual. Believe it or not, many children come to the classroom and it is their only safe space. Make it a place they can count on.
Create a Classroom Environment that Respects Your Relationships
Make your classroom a place where students want to come each day. Ask the class what they would like out of the classroom and respect those requests (to a point). If they are requesting more comfortable spaces to work together during group time, brainstorm comfortable pillows or desk areas they may enjoy.
Come together as a class once a quarter or more to evaluate how things are going and to brainstorm how things might change for the better. The students will love being involved in the planning process. See … respect leads to amazing classroom management! Back to school isn’t the only time to check in when it comes to rules and expectations.
Make Positive Connections with Student Families
I know the school year is busy and there’s barely time to use the bathroom, but pick a day each week or month to reach out to families about positive progress in each student. Oftentimes, parents only get negative calls from the office or emails they don’t want to open. Give them something to look forward to.
You might type out a brief note about their child’s kindness toward a friend, a new skill they acquired, something they are excited about in the classroom, or a realization the child made that week. Parents will love hearing about the GOOD things in the classroom and this will add to that positive sense of community from back to school to the end of the year.
Celebrate Any and All Hard Work
Celebrate your students’ achievements, no matter how small. Each child is working toward their own goal. Whether they learned a new vocabulary word or mastered reading a chapter book, celebrate them and teach the other students to celebrate all wins as well.
If you can, make this a weekly activity where students showcase what they have accomplished to the class. It might be an optional activity so you don’t put those shy ones on the spot. The kids will love sharing accomplishments and hearing what others have done that week. It’s a great activity to start the first week back to school as well.
Maintain Your Authority Through it All
As the year goes on, it’s easy to relax into a friendly role as a teacher. I’m not saying don’t be their friends, I’m saying make sure they know you are the adult in the room. You don’t have to be mean to get your point across, you just have to follow through. This is key to successful classroom management.
If you lay down rules (on your own or as a class) and expectations, follow through each and every time. No exceptions. Students will understand that you mean business and they will respect this quality. If necessary, post your expectations around the room and refer to them often.
Explain the Reasoning Behind All Rules
All rules need an explanation. If you just tell kids they can’t talk on the carpet they won’t understand the full reasoning behind it. Explain each and every rule to them and why it is important for them to follow the rules. These reasons might be for their own safety or for the benefit of other students.
Regardless of the reason, give them one so they understand it on a deeper level. This will also keep kids from questioning you when you lay down the rules. Since you have already explained things, you’ll get less pushback.
Lay Out Consequences for Behavior Issues
If you decide to dish out consequences for certain behaviors, do it from day one. Let students know what the consequences will be. Model these scenarios for them and provide specific examples so they aren’t confused. Classroom management thrives off of the follow-through with consequences, rewards, and expectations.
One example might be that if they push another child on the playground, they must apologize and speak to the administrator. This is just an example, but hopefully, you get the idea. Use back to school time to set these expectations.
Continually Reevaluate Your Classroom Rules
Things change during the year. Back to school time is the best time to lay down rules, but things change quickly. You get new students, students leave, and classroom dynamics change … therefore, rules and expectations may need to change. I don’t mean changing them drastically, I just mean taking a look at them to make sure they apply. If you are having issues with completing work, you may need to create an expectation around that instead of an expectation for standing in line if students already follow that rule.
After each break or when new students arrive, go over your rules and evaluate together which ones are working and which might need to change. Your classroom management system will thank you.
Be Prepared for Each Teaching Day
This may seem like common sense, but there were many mornings when I wasn’t fully prepared and my class could feel it. They took advantage and our day often ended in a mess.
Start each day with a full plan and communicate that plan to your students. Kids thrive off of structure, so give them that each day and watch how nicely they behave. When they know what to expect, the day runs much smoother for everyone.
One simple way to be prepared for each day is to have your Math and Literacy Centers prepped and ready. Use these digital center rotations to easily switch tasks and assign small groups. They come with and without a timer that helps move things along in the classroom!
Use these tips for behavior and classroom management this back-to-school season!