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.
Limit Your Classroom Management Strategies
In my post, 15 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.
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 15 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.
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.
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.
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:
- Treat others with kindness
- Show respect to adults
- Always be honest
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.
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.
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.
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!
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: