Monday, March 25, 2013

Classroom Management 101

One of the most difficult aspect of teaching is how to mange a classroom.  Effective classroom management requires at least five years of experience and an understanding of the ever changing classroom environment.  Most importantly, is how the teacher understands the different student dynamics that the teacher inherits for each class.  If a teacher gets a high-achieving, focused classroom, it is much easier to control that class than a teacher who walks into a low-achieving, unfocused class.  The later group is more likely to have behavioral problems and makes classroom management even more difficult.  This post will attempt to provide some effective techniques that have worked for me to improve teacher classroom management. While it is important that the teacher have administrative support at the school,  especially with dealing unruly students, once the student is in the classroom, it is up to the teacher to control their classroom.

First, identify the problem students, if any.  Usually, there may be one to three students in the class that cause problems.  These students should be seated away from their friends and repeated calls to the parents should result in better behavior.  Ignoring the problem and hoping it will get better will result in a chaotic classroom throughout the year. Many students are in cliques and if any problems occur, be quick to break up these cliques by separating the students.

Second, get the students into a routine.  It is important that the students know what is expected of them daily.  When my students come in, they see the "Do Now" on the board.  Homework for that night and the "Aim" for the day. Furthermore, they are to hand in their homework assignment and copy the Regents question and be ready to explain what the answer is.

Third, enforce the rules but be flexible.  Too many teachers either are too stringent in enforcing the classroom rules or not stringent at all.  The result is a classroom of students that either resent the teacher for being too stringent or disrespect the teacher for not enforcing classroom rules.  The trick is to make sure the students know the rules but on rare occasions the teacher can bend the rules, when appropriate.  This will allow the teacher to maintain classroom control and get the students to buy into them knowing that they can be flexible depending on the situation.

Fourth, you are the boss!  It's your classroom and the students look to you for guidance. Make sure you know your curriculum and speak with an authoritative voice. Speaking softly in a classroom of 34 students will not result in good academic learning.

Fifth, walk around the room if possible.  It is always a good idea to check on "student work" such as the "Do Now" and see if they have their notebook open and taking notes.

Sixth, limit unnecessary noise.  In a crowded classroom noise can result in a lowering of academic achievement for all.  Let the students know that talking in class is unacceptable and inform them that this is negative behavior and will reduce their grade.

Seventh, try to call on as many students as you can.  It is important to keep them on their collective toes and engaged in the lesson you are teaching.

Finally, and most importantly, it's up to you to show your students that you care about their well being and problems. If the students believe you care about them, they will respond positively to your teaching academically.  The students must like the teacher if the teacher is to get the maximum effort from the student.

Good classroom management is a necessary part of "effective teaching" and is the hardest to get right but with experience and watching other teachers teach any teacher, as they gain experience, will be able to master the classroom management issue.


Anonymous said...

Most important become a supervisor and you will not have to put up with any of it. Thats what many of the new teachers become. They know they would be U rated teachers so they become supervisors. With little if any teaching experience they can come into your classroom and rate you. This is something that needs to be addresed by the union. But Michael Mulgrew will not due it. And why should he care. He does not teach. He does not care. To busy pulling counting his money for doing nothing.

Anonymous said...

Nice job on how to manage a classroom but the student-teacher interaction is more complex than how you portray it. However, it is a good beginning and the less experienced teachers should follow it.

Anonymous said...

The most important part of good classroom management is to have a principal and administration that has your back. Kids in every school complain to administration about their teachers and how the principal handles it can dictate how the kids perceive you.

Chaz said...

Anon: 10:20

Right you are about the Administration. My last school I was in for the 2011-12 school year there was no Administrative support and the hallways were noisy and chaotic. The result was that the unruly students did as the pleased and made classroom control very difficult

Anonymous said...

Solid advice for a new teacher. I would add - you will not get all of this right at once - find someone who will work with you (sometimes, but not often, an official mentor, more often just a decent colleague), to help you focus on those things you can/should adjust first.

This is a hard job, and the beginning can be challenging... and the abuse in today's atmosphere stinks... but in the long run it is wonderful to watch kids learn, to help them learn, and worth the initial effort/agony.


Anonymous said...

You do make good suggestions; however, with all due respect for your advice, this classroom management 101 is good if you have a long term assignment, not a day to day or even a week to week. It also depends on the level - elementary, middle or high school. Each level brings it's own behavioral demands.

Where a teacher begins in the school year, with the same class, day in and day out, holds much weight in the way students respond to the teacher's "authority," especially if the students have become used to seeing Subs or ATRs for more than a month straight. Even teachers with more than, oh let's say 10 years experience, will have a difficult time. Of course, students with higher respect for learning will respond more appropriately and attentively. Also, student age doesn't really matter. A 6 year old can be just as defiant as a 16 year old, just in a different way.

On calls to the parents: getting a working number isn't easy. Will the office help or simply direct you to a bunch of blue cards that may or may not be updated? However, making those calls will help to relieve the stress of the day, if nothing else. Dialing *67 before the call (either landline or cell phone) will restrict one's number, allowing the teacher to make these calls on a private phone (if the teacher doesn't mind using his/her own phone). The teacher must remember, if a call home is stated, the teacher MUST follow through, unless the teacher won't be seeing the kid again.

Chaz said...

Anon 2:59

You are correct. This is more about teachers who have long-term positions and need advice. As an ATR I do know that it is difficult if you are a day-to-day sub.


Thanks. I do agree that an teacher mentor is an excellent idea for teachers who struggle with classroom management issues.

Anonymous said...

As an ATR, which I am, it is almost impossible for the kids to view you as a 'real teacher' when they know you are only there the period, the day or the week at the most. Even principals, APs, and other teachers view you as 'just a sub' and this perception translates to how the kids view you.

I honestly do not feel the ATR situation will ever go away b/c you read nothing about it in the union newspaper.

Anonymous said...

The recent news Pix11, 4/11/13 Thursday focused my attention to the fact that a Teacher , named Riley was reassigned after being allegedly raping a teenage student. There are many incidences that white teachers are reassigned for horrific crimes. My only crime was I was not able to defend myself from the initial orchestration of unscrupulous, unprincipled principal who wanted to ruin my 20 year career, years of dedication, multiple student loans, and many hours sacrificed from my own family because she stated i fail to plan. Wow. Failed to plan. The principal Ms. Mann at Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom HS orchestrated my failure combined with a judicial system with no checks and balances, misrepresentation by union lawyers working in concert to dismiss me because they wanted to save on their budget and other issues. I have substantiated proof. My lawyer his name, the names of all parties involved, and all those who attended the hearing and their testimonies I am going to formally put them on the internet for the review of all publically and let you decide if I am telling the truth. They knew I was telling the truth. I was told that didn't matter. Coming soon and I will announce where you can find and read the unedited entire transcripts. It is a large task so please be patient.

Anonymous said...

You have one problem with your classroom management strategies. They only work when the students care about their grades. I've used all of your methods, but they are certainly not always effective. If you have a class of students who don't care or who come one day but out the next and are failing anyway, are they going to care that you are calling on them. They will just say "I don't know." Also, many parents are ineffective so phone calls only work about 10 percent of the time, I've noticed. Your classroom management techniques, although good, are not effective for low function unmotivated and defiant students.