March 26, 2015
More than half of teaching includes classroom management. If you can run a classroom efficiently, the opportunities for kids to learn are endless. Check out these seven tips for managing a classroom like a boss, adapted from a longer article, "101 Tips for a First Year Teacher" by Teach For America alum Maggie (Pettit) Kizer and her sister, Emily.
1. When disciplining your students, say what you mean and mean what you say. If a kid is misbehaving, avoid saying, “you will miss recess for the rest of the year,” because it’s not realistic and students will not listen to you. If you use a logical and realistic statement like, “if this behavior doesn’t stop you will miss 15 minutes of recess,” and follow through with it, students are more likely to listen and respect you because they know you mean what you say.
2. Keep things routine. Kids thrive in routines because they know exactly what to do and what is expected of them during that part of the day. Switching how things work every day will lead to a confusing environment for learning.
3. Be very clear about your expectations and consequences with students.
4. Before reacting to a situation, count to five in your head. This will give you time to think about the best thing to say and a few moments to understand what is happening in the situation. If you react too quickly, you might regret what you say or do.
5. When you feel like the classroom is not functioning well, switch seat assignments. You might find students are just getting tired or too comfortable sitting next to the same person.
6. Teach students how to take a timeout. Have a student model the right and wrong ways to take a timeout so students are clear about this procedure. If students go to timeout the wrong way, have a clear and explicit next step. For example, they have to go to timeout in the hall or another teacher’s classroom. Being very clear about when kids will need to take a time out and how to take a time out will help a lot with your classroom management. You can also call timeouts “taking a break,” a friendly way to help kids understand that they are taking a break to think about their actions in the classroom.
7. Use class jobs. Each week, assign jobs like line leader, attendance carrier, or door holder to help your class run smoothly and provide students with a great opportunity to feel responsible and important. If you have trouble remembering 25 jobs, pick two kids to be helpers each week. What’s in your secret sauce for classroom management?