By Teachers, For Teachers
Is your classroom not running smoothly? You may have painted a picture in your head when you started the school year: Your students independently working and engaged in everything that they do. You may have imagined them following your classroom management style, obeying your rules, and working together ever so nicely. But in reality, none of these things that you’ve imagined actually came to fruition. If your classroom isn’t functioning the way you want, there is hope. Here are 10 reasons your classroom isn’t running like a well-oiled machine, and classroom management techniques you can use to fix that.
The first reason that your classroom may not be running as smoothly as you had hoped is that you aren’t prepared. Being prepared means that you must plan well in advance. While most teachers know that they have to plan, effective teachers know that they must overplan. Overplanning ensures that you will have always something for the students to do. If you’re unexpectedly sick, then you’ll have an activity ready for when there is a substitute teacher, or if you need a quick lesson when you have five minutes to spare, you’ll be ready for it.
Another reason your classroom may not be functioning properly is that you are not creating lessons that meet the needs of all of your students. Try creating lessons that are flexible, and that can be adapted to fit every student’s needs. This way you are able to shorten or lengthen them at any time. Being adaptive to your students’ learning allows you to take the time that you need for any teachable moments. It also doesn’t make you feel like you have to always stick to your plan.
It’s important to establish classroom routines from the moment your students enter your room. If you haven’t done so, then that can negatively affect the way your classroom is running. Create a routine for everything, from how students enter and exit the classroom, to how they should hand in their homework and line up for lunch or other classes. Once you create a routine, you must practice it daily until you see that your students are able to do it on their own.
Effective teachers set clear expectations for their students to follow to ensure that their classroom will run as they want it to. If you never set student expectations, then that may be way you are having a hard time with your classroom. Just as you established daily routines, you must also set clear expectations for your students to follow. Let them know what you expect of them and make sure you post signs everywhere in the classroom so that they will always have a guide to follow.
Think of how boring it would be if you had to read the same book over and over again. When students come school and have to endure the same boring day time and time again, they will not be motivated to learn. Just as it’s important to plan, be flexible, and establish expectations and routines, it’s just as important to keep students on their toes. You can do easily do this by changing up your routine, giving students a break, or even just adding something different to your lessons. As you know, children have a short attention span, so and it’s essential to keep them engaged as much as you can.
My motto is, “An organized classroom is a successful classroom.” When your classroom is organized, then you can ensure that it’ll run smoothly. Being organized make it easier to find things, and it also keeps your students feeling more calm when they are in a stress-free environment that practically runs on its own. Try and label everything and teach your students that everything has a place, and if they take something from that place, they must put it back where they found it.
A lot of the time, many teachers quickly check for understanding during a lesson by simply just asking their students if everyone understands. When they don’t get any responses, they just move on. However, many students are too embarrassed to raise their hand in fear that they’re the only one who doesn’t get it. This is why it’s extremely important to check for student understanding in a variety of different ways. Do not assume that all students understand what you are saying or what you mean. A great way to assure that you know students understand, is to have them hold up a small chalkboard over their heads after each question that you ask. This will help eliminate any embarrassment.
It’s easy to lose control when your students are out of control or when a student is talking back inappropriately. However, to ensure that your classroom will run smoothly, you must have control over not only yourself, but your reactions as well. Your goal is to stay focused on your actions and reactions, as well as what you’re in the classroom to do -- teach your students.
Respect goes both ways, so if you want a smooth-running classroom, then you need to be respected by your students. The best way to get your students respect is to respect them. Try and learn about your students and their interests. Ask them questions and be there when they need someone to talk to. Take the time to really get to know each and every one of them, beyond just their names. The more you get to know them on a more personal level, the better your connection will be. The better your connection is with your students, the better your classroom will run.
One of the best ways that you can ensure that your classroom will function properly is to build your own classroom community. This will help foster a sense of belonging. You easily do this by having students connect and share with one another each day in a morning meeting. The more students feel connected to you and their peers, the better your classroom will run.
You still have time to flip the script and set your classroom up for success. All you have to do is follow the tips above.
What do you do to keep your classroom running smoothly? Share your classroom management thoughts under the comment section below, we’d love to hear from you.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.