Classroom management is one of the central facets of teaching … and often the most difficult. This is especially true for high school teachers, because teenage students tend to be more rebellious and uncooperative.
By understanding the challenges you face and learning to strengthen your classroom management skills, you can promote a healthier learning environment that enables your students to thrive.
Understand your problem
Do you know what the issue is? Why does your classroom get out of hand, and is there something students are taking advantage of?
These are questions you have to ask at the outset. Before you can tackle classroom management, you must take a critical look at yourself and determine the root of the problem.
For example, some teachers struggle with insecurity and aren’t confident enough to command a classroom. This is a major issue and must be dealt with as soon as possible.
Other instructors are people pleasers who don’t ever wish to offend or upset their students. In still other cases, teachers are too confrontational for their own good.
It’s up to you to identify what the issue is. While your students may be part of the problem, it almost always comes back to you in some way or other. If youaddress your issues first, you’ll be readyto implement strategic initiatives to combat poor classroom behavior.
Tips for better classroom management
If you’ve come to terms with your strengths and weaknesses, you’re ready to home in on specific tips and techniques for offsetting challenges and using your assets to manage classroom behavior more effectively.
Here are a few to get you started:
- Take charge from day one. As every teacher knows, it’s much easier to start strict and potentially loosen your grip later than the other way around. At the beginning of each semester — and ideally every day — you should begin by taking charge of the classroom and commanding respect. You do this by drawing students in, curbing side conversations, and directing the focus toward the subject matter.
- Provide positive reinforcement. While an unruly classroom can strain your patience, it’s important to give credit where it is due. When a student does something well, provides a valuable insight, or follows the rules, praise him or her for cooperation. Students need to know that good behavior will be rewarded as much as bad behavior won’t be tolerated.
- Focus on engaging content. The truth is that most classroom behavior issues can be overcome by creating engaging content and hands-on lessons. Contrary to popular belief, most students are interested in learning; you simply need to draw them in with something that’s sufficiently exciting and intriguing. Break up lectures with visuals and challenges to keep the focus on the content.
- Humanize yourself. Have you ever thought that maybe your classroom is unruly and out of control because they don’t have any reason to respect you? This can be a sobering thought, but it can be true. Have you taken the time to let your students know who you really are, or are you just another fact machine at the front of the classroom? Identify yourself by telling students who you are, where you’re from, what your interests are, and why you enjoy teaching. Students are much more likely to respect someone they understand.
- Handle issues swiftly. When problems arise, it’s up to you to handle them swiftly and effectively. Don’t let behavior issues go on for too long, or bad feelings will develop between you and your students. Address problems and actively pursue resolutions in a timely manner.
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