George Lucas Educational Foundation

Classroom management from a student teacher's perspective

Classroom management from a student teacher's perspective

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Having only recently started on my journey into teaching middle school, there is so much for me to learn! At times I feel overwhelmed by everything I am expected to do and everything my mentor teachers want from me, but this steep learning curve is definitely rewarding.

In terms of classroom management in my first full week in a middle school, there are a few things I have picked up so far:

1) The students are not your enemies! You don't need to have tight control of them all the time. If they are really into a game (such as quizzing each other or using jeopardy boards to review a topic), let them get loud if they're into the activity.

2) Silence is key. Most students do in fact want to learn and listen to what you have to say. Pausing for a few seconds (even though it may feel like an eternity) will quiet everyone down. The few that won't stop talking will get shushed by their peers most of the time.

3) Having back-up plans and extra materials for those few disruptive students who don't want to participate is useful. That way, if you have too much time or the lesson isn't going as planned, you won't lose control of the class as you scramble looking for things for them to do.

This is only the start of my journey, so any tips on classroom management you can give to a newbie teacher are appreciated!

This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

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Becky Fisher's picture
Becky Fisher
Education Consultant

These are really great suggestions, Amy. It's so hard to know what to expect until you're in the classroom. I learned so much from my first year of teaching that changed the way I conducted myself the following years. These 3 are all so important for good classroom management. I love the "silence is key" suggestion. Sometimes I would just whisper the instructions or talk really low, which would force the students to really pay close attention.

My only additions would be:

1) Be flexible. If something doesn't work, be comfortable scrapping it. And if something is going really well, be okay with letting it go a bit longer.

2) Create a routine. If students know all their routines such as morning, lunchtime, line-up, packing up, free time, etc., it makes classroom management so much easier!

3) Appoint student leaders. Student leaders don't have to be the same every day or every week, but it's a nice way to share the classroom management duties while teaching responsibility.

Thanks for the post, Amy!

Jason Markey's picture
Jason Markey
Principal, East Leyden High School


These are some really good keys. I would like to add what I think is essential to have a good classroom environment and that is creating a learning community in your classroom where all are respected and valued.

The more we can engage every student's need to belong and realize this will become the basis of how they perceive their experience in our schools we can not only avoid misbehavior but actually create much more positive environments.

Each student must feel valued by teacher and peers and have a true sense of belonging and then focus can be much more about learning rather than management.

Great points to discuss Amy, thanks for sharing!

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

Amy, this is great!

I think good teaching is like good improv or even like being a good lawyer- you have to be prepared enough that you can think on your feet, no matter what the "audience" throws at you. Everyone gets better with experience, and the better you know your "audience, the easier it is as well- great points!

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