Everyone will be pitching in at this time of the year with their gems of wisdom about how you should start the new term.
You will eventually find your own way, carve out your own style and settle on what work’s for you but it’s worth considering the advice of others.
Patrick Kelley (2015) in his book Teaching Smarter recommends the following action plan and it’s sound advice:
- Be consistent with your rules and consequences. Don’t change the consequences and keep the emotion out of it.
- Keep your reactions under control. Never lose your temper in public. Don’t threaten; just act. Do not warn and warn some more.
- Be prepared with engaging lessons.
- Be likable and share your sense of humour or your passion.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. Ham it up. Tell jokes or stories. Work on your storytelling skills.
- Don’t punish the many for the misdeeds of the few.
- Don’t discuss dirty laundry publicly.
- Show that you really like your students and care about them on a personal level.
- Use positive reinforcement; negative rarely works. Praise students often, with specificity and sincerity.
- Have fun or try something else as a profession, because students can smell contempt and sense frustration before any words leave your mouth.
You will no doubt have considered some of these points yourself and they are a reminder that classroom management is not just about student behaviour but about our behaviour too.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that we are consistent with all of our students and favour no one over anyone else. You will have your favourites but never show this, ever.
The thing to remember is that no matter how experienced you are, you never ‘crack’ classroom management. As Kelley says,
Your reputation eventually will speak volumes about your classroom management skills. And someday you will feel you have mastered this aspect of teaching – but then the unexpected will happen.