Monday, July 29, 2013

Classroom Management Skills to Help You Survive the Year!

Is it really that bad? You're doomed? Don't panic, it doesn't mean that you don't have a chance to turn things around. You always have another chance. Some can turn it around during the school year, and some have to wait for a fresh start. Either way, it's not hopeless.:)

Everyone has advice on how to manage a classroom. If you choose someone else's advice, tweak it and make it your own. Below are some ways I have learned to manage my class over the last 29 years.

    • Love them.      You are not always going to like them, but you should love them. I treat my students the way I would want someone to treat my child. I spend too many hours in the day, and months in the year, not to think of them as my own kids.
    • Respect them.  It is not okay to call a child names, ever. Whatever you are thinking, should not come out of your mouth. I take a "Woo-sah", give the kid a timeout, or I will take a timeout before I say something I will regret. And, unfortunately, respect is not always a 2-way street, but we are the adults in the room.
    • Being  Mean Doesn't Work  There's a difference between being a teacher who will not let the kids run all over them and being mean. A mean teacher uses sarcasm to put students down. A mean teacher discusses a child's personal issues in earshot of other students and/or adults. A mean teacher does his/her best to make a child as miserable as they are, on a consistent basis. Humiliation is not a form of classroom management!
    • Be Consistent  There are routines I follow in my classroom that I stick with all year. There are consequences to certain actions. I work hard on avoiding favorites, so that I can treat all my students fairly. 
    • Be flexible  Wait a minute! Didn't I just say to be consistent? Well, you have to be able to change when necessary. You have to make adjustments.
    • Smile and/or Laugh    A smile cures so many ailments. My students always get a kick out of seeing me laugh, especially when it's " tears flowing from my eyes" laughter.  It definitely helped build a connection between my students and I. 
    • I am Not Their Friend There are many teachers who do not agree with me on this point. However, my friends are grown folks who are my peers. If I am going to make new friends at this time in my life, they are not going to be 10 or 11 years old. There is a line that my students know they can not cross, and that's because of our adult/child relationship. If you treat the student as your friend, then they will probably treat you the way they treat their friends.
    • Screaming and Yelling are Useless I can't say this enough. Seriously, they don't hear you. It's like the "Charlie Brown" classroom, "Wub, Wub, Wub". Being calm works so much better than screaming, I learned that a long time ago. If I ever raise my voice, and I rarely do, my kids know, "Oh,oh!"
    • Find Out "Why?" We are overwhelmed with everything that is required of us,it makes us lose sight of the little things that might make a difference. Sometimes we have to take a second and find out why a particular child is acting out. Our rush to judgement oftentimes leads us to handle students in a matter that only exacerbates a situation.
    • Engage and Challenge them. We are certainly not paid to entertain. So no, you don't have to sing, dance, and dress in costumes. Although I do dance and sing, I have stayed away from costumes.:) I can't keep them from being bored every second of the day, but I've found student guided learning, and integrating technology, work a lot better than constant teacher directed learning, teaching to the test, and textbooks. Make sure perceived notions of your class "population" doesn't keep you from holding them to high expectations.

Are these magical cures that will give you a stress-free, perfectly run ,classroom? Absolutely not! But trying to put some of these in place, especially if you are just starting out, and they might help!


  1. I really enjoyed reading your classroom management ideas. I have been teaching third grade for 13 years, and I have learned the hard way over the years what not to do in managing my classroom. I strongly agree with you about speaking in a calm tone, and that kids just don't hear you when you scream and yell. I know of a teacher who likes to call kids out and go the humiliation route in his discipline, and I never want to be that teacher. Now that I am a mother, I understand even better that nagging or yelling just shuts kids off. It is hard to be that calm, even toned teacher all day long though, and it takes a lot of restraint sometimes to react in a respectful way, especially to an 8 year old who is sassy or flippant. Here is a question for your readers. What do you give as a behavior consequence? We use the card flip system at my school, and if students flip their card 2 times, they lose part of their recess. These are usually the kids who need to run and get exercise the most. Are there any ideas out there for consequences that don't involve losing play/exercise time? Thanks for any ideas!

  2. I enjoyed reading your classroom management strategies! I am finishing up my student teaching, so these strategies are very helpful during this time when I am figuring out what works and what doesn't work for me in a classroom full of students! I am looking forward to trying these strategies out in my own classroom!