Whether you’re a student teacher or a first year teacher, embarking on this journey can be incredibly exciting but also intimidating. Among other tasks, you’re main priority is going to be having to care for a room full of children on your own.
If you have an easy class, that’s great, but for many teachers, this isn’t going to be the case. You’ll have that one child who is disruptive or who may be going through something difficult either at school or at home. Regardless of the situation, it will have a ripple affect in your classroom. In order to mitigate it, even though you have your curriculum to teach, it’s best to let go of it for the beginning stages and to focus first on classroom management.
Classroom management is essential for you to be able to teach your students with minimal disruptions and to ensure that your year goes smoothly.
While there are many websites that will give you ten to fifty strategies to use, when you’re first starting out, that can be overwhelming. Don’t do everything. Have a starting point and build on it. Add more once you’ve mastered the following four classroom management strategies.
#1. Have Clear Rules and Consequences
Plan your expectations for the year. Discuss them with your students and have them add to it as well. With clear rules should also come clear consequences. These consequences don’t necessarily need to be negative but your children should know what happens if a rule is not followed. For example, if an assignment hasn’t been handed in on time, will marks be deducted? It’s important for your class to agree on these consequences as well so that they take ownership of it.
It’s good to write down the rule and consequences down so that i’s visible. It’s also important to have your children sign it to indicate that they agree with everything that’s been outlined.
#2. Discover Your “Teacher Voice”
Yes! This is important.
No! You may not get it the first or even the first few times you try it and that’s okay.
Observe different teachers, for their tone and body language when they’re re-directing students. Try it all out a few times and see what works for you. You may need to blend a few of strategies together to find your own teacher voice. This may feel unnatural at first but in time, you’ll come into your own and you’ll find your voice.
Don’t feel intimidate because trust me, if you keep teaching, within that first year, you WILL find your teacher voice. Hang in there and keep trying.
Having this is essential for your students to know when you want them to switch topics, to get back on task, or if what they’re doing is inappropriate.
#3. Focus on Building Connections
Get to know your students and have them learn about each other by playing icebreakers. During the first week of teaching, let go of the curriculum and enjoy some icebreakers. This will help you develop your classroom community.
Click on the following image to gain access to my FREE Resource Library where you’ll find Getting-to-Know-You activities for your students to engage in. This is a great way to get to know your children while they’re playing and learning about one another. After you’ve completed each activity, you can collect them to learn more about each of your students so that you can talk to them about it later. You can also re-visit these activities throughout the year so that you can all see if their answers have changed.
#3. Start With A Firm Grip
Don’t try to be your students’ friend. This is a mistake many first-year teachers and student teachers make. When you become their friend, they won’t respect your authority and therefore, won’t listen to you when you.
Focus on being kind but firm, especially in regards to the rules you’ve set out as a class. They will listen to you and know that you are there for them as a trusted adult.
In time, you can pull back on focusing so heavily on the rules as you’ll already have control of your class. Start and stay strong and then loosen your grip over time.
Let’s recap really quickly. Today, we looked at the following:
- We talked about the importance of classroom management for new teachers and why we’re only focusing on four strategies.
- The four classroom management strategies that we discussed are: Have clear rules and consequences, discover your “teacher voice,” focus on building connections, and start off with a firm grip.
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If in the mean time, if you’re feeling stressed out, overwhelmed and burnout, then I encourage you to check out the following:
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I’ll see you next Friday at 5:30pm PST.
Until I see you next time, remember to create, experience & teach from the heart.