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Whether you're a first-year teacher or a seasoned pro, effective classroom management is a critical piece of any successful classroom. Share what works.
What would be your top 3 tips to give a new teacher about management?
1. Find a support system for yourself whether it is one trusted colleague or a group of professionals that might be available in your system, such as grade level team, or student service support (i.e. social worker, special ed people, mentors...) Or it might be an online group such as this one, or teacher blogs that you've come to value to give you food for thought. Hopefully it will be someone or someones who will take time to listen and help you sort out what your top priorities or frustrations are. And then hopefully work together to brainstorm possible solutions.
2. Don't beat up on yourself. You are learning. It takes years to work towards the comfort level that many teachers have found that is true to who they are and works. It may look like they are naturals at management and you may marvel at how easy it looks when you see them with their students. Usually it has taken them a lot of years and many painful moments of feeling like they'll never get it to reach that level of calm.
3. The key word has been for me is'RESPECT'. Respect yourself and respect each and every child. No favorites, and no little demons. You are in charge and you are the one the kids are watching. One of the ways I found that level of respect in the classroom is to work at disengagement - try to take the emotion out of your discipline and your management strategies. Save emotion for the fun, great times. Disengagement works but it takes practice.
I would ditto every point Suzanne has posted. Don't beat yourself up - we all had those early years (and even now) where we questioned every single thing we did - that's called learning! Focus on your lesson plans - not the content part as much as the engagement part and the authentic learning part. Are you teaching them something they will personally find meaningful? If not, can you make it personally meaningful? Can you make it engaging?
If you do that, AND make sure you are 100% present for your students during every class (not trying to grade papers, or do other business, or being parked at your desk) then the whole idea of "managing" your classroom becomes a lot easier and a more seamless part of your instruction.
The suggestions from Suzanne and Tracie all sound great. I would also add one now that I would not have added a few years ago:
Start out more strict than where you want to end up.
I'm not a believer in the saying "Don't let them see you smile until December." However, I think one mistake that new teachers often make is being a bit too loose on management when they first start. With my classes this year, I began the year with a fairly strict system and told students that the shortest time it had taken a class to show me that they were mature and could be off this strict system was three weeks (I just made that up) and that I wanted them to break the record.
It was a good challenge, and they moved off the system in a week.
1. Create a schedule or routine.
2. Develop Rules and Consequences that are reasonable.
3. Plan (ex. create lesson plans)every aspect of the school day. A failure to plan is a plan to fail.