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Classroom Management Techniques

A classroom is filled with approximately 25 people. Each of
those people have their own personalities. One of the most important goals for
any teacher is learning how to have each of those personalities work together
to create a great learning environment. To help you do that, here are the most
important classroom management techniques for new teachers!

What is Classroom Management?

First, let’s take a moment to review what classroom
management is and why it is important. Classroom management refers to the
strategies a teacher uses to keep everything running smoothly in the classroom and
to ensure that students are practicing positive behaviors. Having a solid
classroom management plan will create a structured, organized environment.
Without structure, a classroom can quickly turn to chaos. When a classroom
becomes too chaotic, it makes it difficult for students to learn.

When it comes to classroom management, you may be wondering,
“where do I begin?” Here are nine classroom management techniques for new
teachers!

Effective Classroom Management Starts with Relationships

No matter what a classroom management plan looks like, it
will not be effective unless the teacher has a positive relationship with the
students. There many things you can do to get to know and build trust with
students, such as:

  • Greet students with a smile each day
  • Ask the students questions about their interests
    and daily lives
  • Incorporate the students’ interests into the
    classroom and lessons
  • Treat all students the same
  • Encourage the students and give them compliments

The more you do these things, the more the students will
grow to like and trust you. The more students like and trust you, the more they
will want to please you by following the rules.

In addition to building relationships with students, it is
also important to build relationships with families. Families help hold
students accountable at home. If students are being held accountable at home,
they are more likely to show positive behaviors at school. You can build
relationships with families by introducing yourself to every students’ parents
at the beginning of the year. This can be done in person or over the phone.
Taking the time to make positive phone calls home throughout the year also
helps build relationships.

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Limit Your Classroom Management Strategies

In my post, 5 Teaching Tips for New Teachers, I talked about the importance of not overdoing it when it comes to classroom management. If you search for classroom management plans, you can find hundreds of options. As a new teacher, it can be tempting to want to try everything. Using too many strategies at one time can quickly become overwhelming for the teacher and confusing for the students. It is best to select one or two classroom management plans that will work for you and your unique students.

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Change Your Classroom Management Plan If Needed

While it is important to stick to just one to two classroom management plans at a time, it is okay to change your strategies throughout the year. In 5 Teaching Tips for New Teachers, I also shared that sometimes students become bored with a classroom management system part way through the year. If this happens, it is important to change the strategy you are using to keep students engaged and on task.

There are also certain times of the year when students are
easily distracted. These times usually occur around holidays and at the end of
the year. Knowing this, it is important to go into these seasons with a new
classroom management technique in mind. For example, you may need to create a
special plan to keep students on task and motivated before Christmas. I like to
create a seasonally themed classroom management plan to use between
Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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The Best Classroom Management Plans Allow Students to Change

One of the most important classroom management techniques
for new teachers to keep in mind is to create a plan that allows students to
redeem themselves. Many classroom management plans give out consequences for
negative behaviors without giving students an opportunity to change that
behavior. For example, in a ladder system, a student may move down the ladder
each time a negative behavior is shown. If the student is not given an
opportunity to move back up the ladder until the next day, what motivation does
the student have to change their behavior for the remainder of the day? In this
situation, a student should still be allowed to move back up the ladder even
after they have made a mistake. Giving students an opportunity to change after
they have made a mistake will encourage more positive behaviors in the
classroom.

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Students Must Buy Into Your Classroom Management System

During my first year of teaching, I created a classroom
management plan called “Falling and Shooting Stars.” I made a pocket chart that
looked like the night sky. Then, I made stars with each of the students’ names
on them. At the start of the day, each students’ star started at the middle of
the pocket chart. Students’ stars could “fall” down the pocket chart for
negative behaviors and “shoot” up the pocket chart for positive behaviors. The
goal was for each student to end the day with their star at the top of the
pocket chart.

I thought I had created an amazing classroom management plan
and was super proud of myself. Within the first week of school, my pride was
crushed when one of my fifth-graders told me it was “babyish.” As much as I
loved the plan, it had to change. If the students didn’t buy into it, they
likely wouldn’t follow it. So, my stars went in the trash and a different plan
was quickly implemented.

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Keep Classroom Rules Simple

If you want students to follow your rules, make sure the
rules are simple to follow. Having too many rules or rules that are too
complicated can be confusing for students. When developing your classroom
management techniques, create three to ten rules that summarize the character
traits you want students to show. The three used in my classroom are:

  1. Treat others with kindness
  2. Show respect to adults
  3. Always be honest
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Document Classroom Behavior

As a teacher, it is important to document everything,
especially behavior. By documenting student behaviors, it is easy to see how
students are changing or not changing throughout the year. This information can
help guide how you teach and if a classroom management strategy needs tweaking.

Documentation can also be used as a topic of conversation
during parent-teacher conferences. When documenting behavior, it is important
to keep track of both positive and negative behaviors. When you meet with
parents, it is important to always have something good to show them, especially
if the primary purpose of your meeting is to discuss negative behaviors or
grades.

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Practice a Growth Mindset

In recent years, growth mindset is taking over teaching. Put
simply, there are two types of mindsets: fixed mindset and growth mindset. A
fixed mindset is a belief that people are born with certain ability levels. A
growth mindset is a belief that abilities can be developed. When showcasing a
growth mindset, people are more positive. They believe that they can accomplish
hard things and also encourage the people around them to accomplish hard
things.

A teacher who practices a growth mindset believes their
students can accomplish goals and that they can help their students accomplish
those goals. This type of positivity is contagious. The more you tell students
that you know they can do things, the more they will believe it. As your
students gain confidence, you will see their behavior and grades improve.

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Be Consistent with Your Classroom Management Plan

All classroom management techniques have one thing in
common. If they are not consistently enforced, they will not be successful.
Sometimes students will argue or try to negotiate when they receive a
consequence. It is important that you always do what you say you will do. If
not, it shows students that they can take advantage of situations. When
students learn how to take advantage of situations, classroom management plans
usually fall apart.

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Conclusion

One of the most important things a new teacher will do all
year is develop solid classroom management techniques. Having a well-thought-out
classroom management plan will help create a positive learning environment and will
keep your classroom running smoothly. Some of the most important things you can
do to encourage positive behaviors are build relationships with students,
create a simple plan and rules that work with your unique students, and follow
through with what you say. By doing these things, your life as a new teacher
will be much easier!

Do you want to learn more classroom management techniques and ways to successfully navigate your first year of teaching? Download my free New Teacher Survival Guide. This guide outlines everything you need to know your first year of teaching!

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Click the image to download the free New Teacher Survival Guide!

You can also learn more tips and strategies for first-year teachers by visiting the New Teachers section of my blog. Or, check out some of these great blog posts about classroom management that I have found:

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