Will You Control Your Classroom or Will It Control You?
Andrea pushed a student against the classroom locker. The faces of some students looked shocked while other encouraged the other students to do something about it. Mrs. Lawson tried to quiet down the class, but no one listened.
Suddenly, Timothy, a kid quick to get angry, threw a toy across the room, hitting a little girl in the top of the head. Not another day of this, she thought. What am I going to do?
This is a question that every new teacher must confront and answer. Classroom control is an absolute necessity of you want to establish a safe and effective learning environment.
Disruptive students can be a disaster for not only the classroom, but also for the entire school if nothing is done about it. Unruly students can interfere with the Classroom presentation, the motivation of students as well as the energy of the teacher.
Many teachers change careers because of massive burnout after enduring the days, months, or years of stressful teaching situations. Lack of effective response from administration and the indifference of other teachers take its toll.
Classrooms with disruptive students are full of chaotic activity. Weak teachers will be confronted with such behaviors as:
- Continuous off task behavior
- Tapping on desks
- Pestering others
- Bullying and Name Calling
- Chasing others around the room
- Loud chattering
- Throwing objects around the room
- Trashing the room in a fit of rage
- Bad attitude toward teacher
- Smart mouthing the teachers
- Continuous Complaining
- Constantly getting out of seat
- Rising tension between upset students
These are the types of behaviors that make a teacher’s life miserable. Loud chattering will most likely be the initial behavior that must be dealt with right away.
The Significance of knowing Students and Parents
Teaching is a profession in which a classroom educator must always possess knowledge and awareness of his or her students. Ignoring this fact has gotten newbies into deep trouble when it comes to instructing and commanding a classroom.
Student records should be thoroughly read, possible before they take foot in the classroom at the start of school. Having prior knowledge of your students will go a long way in giving you ideas on how to deal with each one.
At the first day of school, a teacher should know the background of at least eight percent of her students. More importantly, they should know the parents as well. Teachers and parents working together are a perfect combination when it comes to educating children.
Having been a schoolteacher for over 25 years, my experience in working with willing parents has been extraordinarily successful. I have seen students make a 360-degree turn-around in behavior and a sharp improvement in academics.
Never fear the parents of your students. If you do the communication channel between you and them will be non-existent. The result will be highly unfavorable.
Reaching out to parents is all a part of taking control of your classroom instead of it taking control of you.
Commanding a classroom and controlling behavior are keys to maintaining a safe and effective learning environment in any school. However, to take full charge of a classroom, teacher must be in control of five major areas:
Reinforcing Rules and Regulations
The mistake often made by teachers with chaotic classrooms is the neglect of setting and clarifying and reinforcing the rules with their students on the first day of class. Wise teachers see this step as priority. Some even send or mail a discipline plan home to parents.
When you set classroom rules the first day, you make yourself known as the authority of the classroom even before students get to know you. It is a strong stand against students who need time to test out your weaknesses.
Responsive classroom discipline strategies are the most popular approaches for dealing with disruptive students.
I once met a teacher who made his all boys classrooms write the rules every morning before any instruction started. He would do this every time students misbehaved, whether inside or outside. I must say that this teacher’s classroom was the cream of the crop when it came to model students and highly productive classrooms.
Establishing Structure and Order
All classroom should have structure and order. Students should know what they always need to do next. The key is not to create and oppressive environment in which kids cannot move around at all. Structure is when a student knows what he or she can do after finishing a task or until the next lesson begins. Order is when a student knows when and how to do what should be done next.
For example, students should know how to put their chrome books away, how to get a book and read while others are finishing up seat work, how to share and respect one another when working together on a project or within classroom learning centers.
Controlling Voice and Actions
Knowing how to control multiple voices and actions within your classroom is the solution to preventing the formation of chaos. If you are not aware of the voices and actions of your students, you will be unable to control them.
You should only allow those voice and actions that provide value for everyone in the classroom. For example, respectful communication and interactions are voices and actions you want to emphasize.
The goal is only to allow language and behaviors that will bring the classroom into a state of unity and strength. This is what create a dynamic learning environment.
Fostering High Productivity
Keeping your student interested and engaged is the prerequisite for high productivity. Every lesson that you teach is an experience for students. If students are having a fun and exciting time engaging the subject of the lesson plan, then they will most likely be interested in completing seatwork.
Group competitions, dramatic demonstrations, questioning, answering inquiries, illustrating with pictures, and using technology are way to increase interest and participation in productive learning.
The days are gone when students were expected to sit quietly for an hour while teachers teach boring subjects.
A solution to preventing chaos before it starts is decisive intervention. Teachers must respond to critical behavior without reservation. Students must be fully convinced that negative behavior will be met with shift consequences, regardless how small the offence.
When students know that they cannot get away with a negative behavior, many will most likely stop and think before getting themselves into trouble. The goal is consistency.
Weak or no intervention will lead to a classroom that will become uncontrollable. Instead of a teacher-controlled classroom, negative students will be in control. They will be a constant obstacle to the effective expression of your authority, resulting in lost of respect and control.
Classroom management is not a walk in the park. However, if you follow the guidelines discussed in this article, you will be able to manage your classroom and receive the honor and respect necessary to create a great learning environment.