Having great classroom management is a sign of an excellent teacher. The better you can handle your class and keep your students focused, the more learning that will take place. Here are some important tools that will help your classroom run well.
The more structure you have in the classroom, the better! Students say they don’t like to have this, but when it’s not there, they freak out. You need to make sure you have well defined expectations and procedures, so the students know what they are doing and what the consequences of their actions are. Examples include making sure the students sit when the bell rings, raise their hands if they have a comment or question, informing them when they are dismissed, etc. Also make sure you have a discipline policy and follow through with it. Be consistent and fair to everyone.
Another very important tool is to create very positive relationships with your students. Get to you know all about them, such as their interests, strengths, weaknesses, and backgrounds. Don’t be afraid to have fun and joke around with them every once in a while either. Once you create that bond with the students, then they will respect you more as a teacher. They will try to behave well for you, impress you, and help your class be successful. If a student ends up breaking a rule or procedure, all it normally takes is a quick redirection, and he/she will be back on track.
When the students are in a positive classroom, they will want to be a part of it and not do things that will harm the environment. One thing you must do is when you compliment your students, make sure you are very specific with what you thought they did well. If you just say “good job” all the time, they will think you are just saying it to go through the motions. Another important thing is to give students positive rewards for their good behavior, achievements, and additions to the classroom. I use a prize box, but you can use whatever you would like. If your school uses PBIS, make sure you give them the designated tickets that can help them win school-wide awards and recognition as well.
The more engaging and exciting your lessons are, the more the students will be focused on learning than misbehaving. For social studies, some of the lessons I use include the students creating Time magazines, debating, using on-line simulations, writing speeches in the perspective of the President, drawing their own Renaissance paintings, and much more. Throughout the year I also am very excited and upbeat about the material I’m teaching. If I show the students how much I care for the content, than it gives them a reason to like it too.