One of the biggest challenges for all teachers and especially first year teachers is how to handle classroom management. There are many different classroom management practices and each teacher has to find what works best for them. This article highlights five best practices for effective student discipline.
1. Have a Positive Attitude
It may seem like a simple concept, but there are many teachers that do not approach their students with a positive attitude on a day to day basis. Students will feed off of a teachers overall attitude. A teacher who teaches with a positive attitude will often have students who have positive attitudes. A teacher who has a poor attitude will have students who reflect this and are difficult to manage in class. When you praise your students instead of tearing them down, they will work harder to please you. Build on the moments when your students are doing things the right way and the bad moments will decrease.
2. Set Your Expectations Early
Do not go into the school year trying to be your students’ friend. You are the teacher and they are the students and those roles should be clearly defined from the beginning. Students need to be aware at all times that you are the authority figure. The first day of school is one of the most important in how your classroom management experience will go throughout the year. Start out extremely tough on your students and then you can back off some as the year goes along. It is important that your students know from the beginning what your rules and expectations are and who is in charge.
3. Develop a Good Rapport with your Students
Even though you are the authoritarian in the classroom, it is extremely important to build an individual relationship with your students from the beginning. Take the extra time to find out a little about each students likes and dislikes. Getting your students to believe that you are there for them and have their best interest in mind at all times will make it easier for you to discipline them when they make a mistake. Seek out activities and methods to gain your students trust. Students can tell if you are being fake or if you are being genuine. If they smell a fake, then you are going to be in for long year.
4. Have Clearly Defined Consequences
It is important that you establish consequences for your classroom within the first few days. How you go about that is up to you. Some teachers set the consequences themselves and others have the students assist with writing the consequences so that they take ownership in them. Establishing the consequences for poor choices early sends a message to your students by putting to paper what will happen if they do make a poor decision. Each consequence should be clearly stated in that there is no question as to what will happen per offense. For a percentage of your students, simply knowing the consequences will keep students from making poor choices.
5. Stick to your Guns
The worst thing that a teacher can do is not to follow through with the rules and consequences that you have set early on. Staying consistent with your student discipline will go a long ways in keeping students from repeating offenses. Teachers who do not stick to their guns often are the ones that struggle with classroom management. If you consistently do not follow through on your student discipline, then students will lose respect for your authority and there will be problems. Kids are smart. They will try everything to get out of being in trouble. However, if you give in, a pattern will be established and you can bet it will be a struggle to get your students to believe that there are consequences for their actions.