As you become a more experienced teacher, you will develop you own tricks and tips to ensure that your classroom management skills are up to scratch. What works for one teacher may not necessarily work for another, or for you. However, there are some tips that will help with classroom management whoever you are.
1) Make sure from the start of the school year that your students know what behaviour is tolerated and what is not. One way of doing this is to ask students to work in groups to come up with classroom rules. Put these on the classroom wall and when a rule is broken, point to the rules and ask which rule has been broken. Ask why and then ask other students to comment. Remind students that they drew up the rules, and so should they should keep to them.
2) It is very important to maintain a sense of humour and have a quick, funny retort ready, if students seem restless, or if you suspect that trouble is brewing. Humour can deflect more serious behavioural problems in the classroom.
3) You need to be able to see what is happening in your classroom. You should not mark homework while in a classroom, however tempting it may be. If students sense that you are otherwise engaged, you can expect them to play up.
4) Move around the class, checking that students are all engaged with the task at hand. Bring them back on task when necessary. Try not to let individual students monopolise your attention by bringing their work to you. Explain that you will see each student’s work in turn as you move around the class. Don’t turn your back on the class. Walk sideways like a crab so that most, if not all, of the students are visible to you. You can also train yourself to write on the board while standing sideways.
Try observing your students from the back of the class. When you teach from there, students have to turn around to look at you. This keeps them on their toes and allows you to maintain control. Even if you have a back view of your students their body language will tell you if they are engaged or bored with the lesson.
Don’t simply teach from the front of the class.
5) Make sure that you vary the pitch and tone of your voice. Never speak in a monotone as students will soon get bored and probably imitate you to get attention from their classmates, whether in class or outside it. Bored students are disruptive ones.
6) If students are being disruptive move closer to them and stand beside them. Usually you don’t have to say anything to get them to settle down and focus. Address a question to a specific student if he or she is being disruptive and wait to get an answer. Don’t let another student answer the question you have addressed to a particular student. Make it clear that students should not shout out answers, but instil into them that you will choose who will respond.
Share your classroom management tips with your colleagues. You can all learn from each other.