Are you a beginning teacher struggling with managing your class? Or are a parent of a threenager who pushes every.single.button? Read on to find out 5 strategies for classroom management that parents can use too.
Classroom management strategy one: set boundaries. Let me say that just one more time – set boundaries.
My first year teaching I learned this one the hard way. I set my boundaries at the limit of what I would tolerate.
And obviously kiddos (teens and toddlers in particular) LOVE to push boundaries.
I spent my whole first year teaching frustrated that students were constantly pushing my buttons.
Well, in my second year, I had learned my lesson. I had tighter boundaries. I was super strict so that when students did something ‘wrong’ I didn’t actually care that much because it was usually minor.
By having strict boundaries I prevented bigger problems because kiddos knew what I would and would not tolerate.
Use your face
And not just as a resting place for your palm.
So, I have this wrinkle that is slowly deepening above my left eyebrow. It’s a single line that runs halfway across my forehead. Want to know how I got it? Teaching. And parenting.
Which leads us to classroom management strategy two: use your non-verbal communication, especially your facial expressions.
You don’t always have to say something for kiddos to understand. One of my favourite non-verbal ways to communicate that a kiddo (or my toddler) is doing something I don’t want them to do is to raise my eyebrows.
That’s where that wrinkle comes from. Raising my eyebrows a zillion times a day to tell students (or my kiddos) to cut.it.out.
But seriously, I don’t have to shout, I don’t have to reprimand, I don’t have to draw attention to the undesirable behaviour.
I can often just raise my eyebrows, give them *the look* and *usually* the undesirable behaviours stop.
Classroom management strategy number three: walk away. But first, explain your expectations.
I HATE toddler (and teen) tantrums. My threenager wants to rule the roost, but obviously mum needs to be the boss.
So, how do we negotiate her (legitimate) desire for independence and decision-making, and my (necessary) need to be in charge? Explain expectations.
One of my favourite lines, when a student was doing the wrong thing in the classroom, was: “Sally/Stacey/Sam, I have asked you to do X (usually, do the class work), you need to do it. If you choose not to, there will be consequences.”
Then I would WALK AWAY. That’s right, walk away people.
Give them a few minutes and then circle back to see if they have done what you asked. If they had, I would praise them, and if not I would follow through with the normal consequence for that behaviour.
Works for toddlers and teens alike.
Classroom management strategy number four: warn kiddos about activity transitions.
Transitions between activities can be hard, even for adults with (somewhat) more developed prefrontal cortexes that (supposedly) enable them to make complex decisions, moderate their behaviour to conform to social norms, and anticipate the consequences of their actions.
Whenever you are about to transition between activities – for example, change from listening to writing in the classroom, or go from the park to the car with your kiddo, GIVE WARNING.
This gives the kiddo (pupil or progeny alike) time to think, oh, ok, we’re gonna do this soon, no problems.
If you don’t give a warning, you’ll end up standing on the street with your kiddo shouting, “But I don’t NEED to do a POO!” and stomping their feet. Or whatever the teenager equivalent is. Just saying.
Show that you care
Classroom management strategy number five: show that you care.
Kiddos need to know you care. And while it’s frowned upon to hug your teenage students, you can let them know you care in other ways.
Call home to say they’ve handed in their homework three weeks in a row.
Put stickers on their notebooks when they’ve completed challenging tasks.
Ask about their weekend.
Offer help if you think they are struggling.
Send home a positive praise postcard.
All of these types of things show students that you care, and put money in your relationship bank.
But your kids, give them a hug. Physical affection is one of the BEST ways that you can show your kids that you love them, that you’re proud of them, that you care.
So, hopefully, this list has shown you ways to avoid public declarations of defecation and helped you manage your middle and high schoolers more effectively.
- #Teacherlife blog posts: motivation and self-care tips for teachers, 5 time-management tips for tired teachers
- Teaching strategies: 4 guilt-free reasons to use videos in class, teaching study skills, using CrashCourse videos to introduce a topic
- Building positive relationships with students and parents: positive praise postcards and how I use them