February 18, 2016
Classroom management is an art. For some teachers, managing a classroom is natural and comes easy, while others struggle to find a balance and must test different approaches. Even when you have firm control, you may worry it will slip away at any moment. Regaining control and resetting your class may be an uphill battle, but it’s never too late in the school year to meet it head-on. It may take rethinking your philosophy on classroom management or reaching out to a colleague or mentor for help. Unfortunately, there’s no one solution that will magically transform your classroom—you may have to implement a variety of tactics—but we do have a few tips to consider as you set out to regain control of your class.
1. Focus on being a good teacher.
It’s natural for you to want to be liked by your students, but just because your students like you doesn’t mean you’re an effective teacher. Your number one priority is to educate your students, and you can’t do this if you’ve lost control of your classroom. Focus on being a good teacher, earning your students’ trust and respect, even if that means strictly enforcing classroom policies your students don’t like, but you know are valuable to maintaining order in your class. If you allow your class to walk all over you, you won’t be able to effectively teach them, nor will they trust, respect, or like you.
2. Be firm and consistent.
Knowing that your number one priority is to be a good teacher, you have to be firm and consistent with rules, policies, and the associated consequences of those rules being broken. Your students will eventually adjust if you set firm rules and are consistent in their implementation, but also keep in mind that those who are abiding by your rules should be rewarded. If you’re calling home for students who are being disruptive, you should also call home for those students who are respecting your classroom and setting a good example for their classmates.
3. Turn weaknesses into strengths.
If your students have a weakness for talking during class, let them talk. Take time during your class to foster group discussions about your lessons and what you’re studying, and if the discussion begins to stray, guide them back to the conversation. If a student refuses to stay on topic or continues to disrupt the discussion, remember to be consistent and firm when it comes to consequences.
4. Collaborate with your students.
Sit down with your students to draft a list of behaviors and expectations they believe are necessary to successfully learn and for you to help them do so. Students understand what’s appropriate and not appropriate in a classroom, and they’re a world of knowledge when it comes to what should be expected with them. Once you’ve drafted a list of expectations, have your students sign off on it and hang it on your wall so it’s easily accessible.
5. Reward well and often.
Discipline isn’t just punishing a student for not following the rules, it’s also rewarding a student for respecting their teacher and their classmates. Whether you decide to do whole class calls as mentioned above, or have other ideas for rewarding those students who model good behavior, acknowledgement of positive actions is equally important when it comes to regaining control of your classroom. What suggestions do you have for resetting a classroom? Share your tips in the comments.