The number one topic I am asked about from teachers of all ages and stages is classroom management. It is the one thing we as teachers are always working on and trying to improve.
In writing this post, I gleaned some wisdom from my mum, Margaret Howard, who has been teaching since before I was on the planet, and who has incredible insight into effective teaching and effective classrooms. Thanks Mum 🙂
Do you make any of these 6 classroom management mistakes?
Losing your temper
We all have moments of intense frustration in managing our students. However, when a teacher loses their temper in the classroom, they actually lose the ability to manage their classroom effectively. Teacher temper tantrums damage the student/teacher relationship and bring significant instability into the classroom. One of the best things you can do to manage your inner emotions is to be self-aware and student-aware. Have you had a rough start to the day? Are you over tired? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Similarly, these situations can be true for your students too. Remember this, a teacher who regularly loses their temper will be a teacher who regularly faces classroom management challenges.
Speaking unkind words
Sadly, many of us can remember a teacher’s words that were less than helpful. As teachers, we are privileged to influence the lives of our students and a teachers words can have a significant impact in students’ lives, either positive or negative. Don’t allow your emotions to bubble up and spill out through your mouth. You must be in charge of yourself. A teacher who struggles to control the words they speak will be a teacher who struggles to manage the class they teach.
Comparing one student to another
In the midst of poor student behaviour and heightened teacher frustration, often the teacher will unwisely compare the student’s behaviour/attitude/effort to that of another student. This is a big no-no and undermines principles of healthy classroom management. Comparison achieves nothing and certainly will not help you to effectively deal with the situation at hand. Do not compare students. Instead, focus on positive attributes of the student who is presenting the classroom management challenge.
This is THE biggest mistake teachers make when it comes to classroom management – they lack consistency. Consistency as a teacher means that your students will know exactly what to expect from you day to day. The most crucial thing that will affect your level of respect and compliance from students is your ability to be consistent. Students are very good at noticing inconsistency and they will use it to their advantage. You must be consistent. You must follow through. You must do what you say you are going to do. Every time. Every lesson. Without exception.
Valuing your content more than your audience
Yes, as teachers, we are always acutely aware of the content we must cover with our classes. We have to get through the already crowded curriculum and we really don’t have time to waste trying to sort out poor student behaviour. So, with this (incorrect) attitude, we place all our focus and attention on our content and in the process we ignore our audience. In doing so, we are literally asking for classroom management trouble. Your audience IS more important than your content. Teach to your audience and be acutely aware of them. How are they going? Are they engaged? Have you got their attention?
Here’s the thing: if you have an audience that is engaged and well managed, then you will cover twice the amount of ‘content’ in a lesser period of time. Invest the time up front to connect with your audience and help them to stay engaged throughout the course of the lesson.
Lacking a classroom management plan
Many teachers plan their lessons but they don’t plan how to manage their classes. They plan amazing handouts and spend a lot of time writing their content, but they give little or zero thought to how to manage their class throughout the lesson. A teacher without a classroom management plan is a teacher who unwisely reacts to issues and unhelpfully lurches from one situation to another. Develop a classroom management plan for your class and be consistent in implementing it.
This week’s assignment:
Answer these two questions:
1) Which of these mistakes do you tend to make?
2) What’s one thing you can do this week to help prevent that occurring?
Enjoy the journey,
And more importantly,
Enjoy the moments.
Question: What do you find most challenging about managing your classroom? Leave your comments here.