The school year is in full swing! The students have begun to settle into routines and the now your little darlings have begun to relax and really be themselves!! All of a sudden your classroom reminds you of the classroom scene in Sister Act. The students are talking and no one is listening except for a hand full of children. You leave work tired and frustrated. At this point you can choose to do 1 of 2 things give up and let the students take control of your classroom or you can do like Sister Mary Clarence and come back the next day with a plan of action.
1. Find a management system that fits your personality
Everyone teacher has a different personality. If you sit back for a moment and think about the management systems and styles for each classroom at your school the management systems matches the teacher’s personality. For example, if a teacher does not like a busy classroom you will find that his/her classroom is very structured with very little conversation. Then if you look down the hallway you have Miss Frizzle and her students talking laughing and singing while working in an organized chaos.
2. Bribing the students is NOT managing behavior.
Many new teachers settle into the habit of buying bags of treats to use as a bargaining tools to coerce students to behave appropriately. While this make work the for a little while, it actually has the opposite effect on student behavior. It teaches the students to behave appropriately to get the treat and then return to the inappropriate behavior. Children should be rewarded for appropriate behavior but in moderation. Class Dojo is a free classroom management tool that awards consequences and rewards for to student for behavior. If you do not have reliable technology you can create behavior cards and add stickers for each day of the week and when a the students receives a certain amount of stickers then they will receive a reward. CHAMPS is another management system that works in conjunction with other systems of consequences and rewards. The plan of action should be to find a management system that works well with your personality.
3. Be Consistent!
This seems to be the biggest issue that that most teachers have with managing student behavior. Every day as a classroom teacher is different adventure. You never know what is going to happen that day. The one thing that should be consistent is your management system. I had a Dean of Students who would always say, ” Your down time is their up time!” So, if you don’t feel like implementing your management plan and classroom routines consistently the students will definitely remind you why it is important to be consistent through their behavior.
4. Build a relationship with challenging students.
Just like in the movie Sister Act there is always one, two or three students that make your classroom a nightmare. You have to keep in mind that these are still children even though they are not behaving like children. Last week I had a conversation with a second year teacher and I told her that all children have something that makes them tick. You just have to stop asking yourself how am I suppose to teach them and start asking yourself the question how am I going to reach them? As cliche as it sounds you have reach them before you can teach them. It’s all about strategy and if one strategy does not give you the desired outcome that you are looking for don’t give up! Try, try, again.
Managing a classroom as well as student behavior can be overwhelming for new teachers. There’s a method to the madness and you have to find the method that works for you and the issues that you are having in your classroom. Just remember Rome was not built in a day and it will take time and skill to get the results that you want!