Creating a Well-Oiled Classroom Machine: Part I

Clever young students in classClassroom Management is a topic that we approach with high hopes and enthusiasm.  Many teachers may surf the net, expectantly looking for articles in hopes of  finding a strategy or a secret that is going to miraculously solve our management issues.  We do not have secrets or quick fixes in this article but we do offer a few solid suggestions, some great insight and lots of encouragement. We know that managing a classroom is fulfilling but also can be very challenging.

In our 2-part series on classroom management, we offer you 6 strategies that we hope will help you consider the best approach and a few techniques to help you and your students thrive through the end of the school year.  Here are the first 3 insights and strategies to managing your classroom.

1) Clarity. Be clear with your expectations. Be as clear as you can and make sure that your directions are visual for students. As you know, individuals learn uniquely.  Be aware of your own learning style but especially be aware of how some of your students learn differently than you.  Are your expectations and consequences clearly stated?  Do students know when they are successful and when they are not?  Can they clearly point out the difference between successful behavior and unacceptable behavior?

Often times, clarity can solve a lot of what we tend to call behavior problems.  Just because we have told them what we expect doesn’t necessarily mean that they understand it yet.  There may be a variety of reasons that they don’t understand it, but your role is to be clear so that your students have the highest opportunity for successfully meeting classroom expectations.

2) Consistency. Following right behind clarity is consistency. This is on you as the teacher.  Sometimes it is easy to just give up or give in and let some behaviors slide. This can be confusing for any person – especially for those of you that teach at the younger levels.

Consistency with clarity tells students what to expect and helps them to be consistent in their own behavior.  They look to you for guidance.  Even the kids that you know who intentionally want to push your limits and test your boundaries.  They are testing your consistency so they can have confidence in you as they try to behave each day.

3) Individual Feedback. We know that you are a busy teacher with a lot of objectives that you need to get accomplished each day. We all also know that the best way to get someone to understand your expectations is to give personalized and private feedback.  Student’s need examples of acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

Private, direct and clear conversations are always more beneficial to both parties than a quick and public shout of ridicule with the intent to correct.  We know that it is hard to manage your own behavior everyday with a lot of students but take advantage of your 1:1 opportunities with your students.  These opportunities will help you manage your classroom, establish clarity and foster positive behaviors in your students.

As you read through these suggestions regarding classroom management what comes to mind?  We know that strategies and suggestions can seem so much simpler on screen than when you try to live them out in real life.  If you are still feeling a bit overwhelmed and looking for more insight to help you finish the school year successfully, then take a look at this helpful article from We Are Teachers.

Tell us about your experiences. What is your best strategy or system that you have used to lead your classroom with confidence and organization?