Opinions about the best classroom management practices are as varied as the teachers who use them. Despite that variance, most agree that you have to have some sort of systematic approach to classroom expectations. Starting the school year with a vague idea of what is acceptable behavior can make for a long and trying year.
Here are a few thoughts adapted from “The Dos and Don’ts of Classroom Management: Your 25 Best Tips” via Edutopia. What others would you add?
Greet students at the door
When you greet students at the door it tells them that you are ready for them. It starts their day right by reassuring them that their favorite person is in the building.
More rules doesn’t mean better behavior
Keep it simple. Too many rules and expectations won’t be much different than none if the students can’t remember them.
Make your expectations clear from the start
Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” If your expectations aren’t clear, repeat them. If that doesn’t work, try rewording them.
There will be “those” days. If you can keep your head on your shoulders and exude calm, your students will reflect it back. If you don’t feel calm, act like it anyway.
Don’t take it personally when students misbehave
Battles of will are rarely won by either side. Students need consistent responses and consequences that are free of extreme emotions. They crave consistency despite behaviors that might suggest otherwise.
Have a plan in place for any and all transitions. That doesn’t mean every move has to be choreographed, but be thoughtful and intentional when moving around the classroom and school.
Routines and management shouldn’t be magic tricks that students stand in awe of. Students should be included in the development of expectations in their classroom. At the very least, teachers should make an effort to explain and model the reasons for the “why” behind what they expect.
Ask others for help
When all else fails, go find a colleague. Teaching is too hard as a solo act. Seek out a veteran or a teacher who has a similar class and ask for advice. It could be the start of a long professional relationship.