By Teachers, For Teachers
Have you lost control of your classroom? Losing control can happen at any point of the year, whether students just came back from a break or after you’ve been out sick for a few days. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, it can happen to even the most effective teachers. As you question what went wrong, or how you lost control, your classroom management system went down and now it’s time to fix it. What you need to know is that you’re not alone, and this can happen to even the best of teachers. The key to regaining control is to take action the moment that you see it slipping away. Here are some valuable classroom management tips on gaining control.
One of the top ways to take back control of a classroom once it’s been lost is to try and create a sense of community in your classroom. Students need to be in a safe and secure environment in order to thrive. Creating a classroom community will help all students feel not only safe, but comfortable in your classroom. The best way to ensure you have a classroom community is to start your day with a morning meeting. Set aside a few minutes each morning to just talk with your students. Let the students tell you about their day or what is going in each of their lives. A morning community circle is beneficial to students because it allows them to get things off their chest so they won’t be distracted while they are learning.
Teambuilding in another important component that can also help you take back control of your classroom. Classroom teambuilding activities are meant to bring students that otherwise wouldn’t connect very well closer together. The more teambuilding activities that you give students when they are out of control, the better the chance that they will get along. Teambuilding activities work because they give students the opportunity to get to know one another on a higher level. The students learn more about each other, which will help your classroom management as well as help to give you the control back in your classroom.
One popular teambuilding activity is to have students play “Beat the clock.” This teambuilding game works well because it challenges students to learn to work together to get the task done. Form teams of two and give each team a list of ten classroom items that they need to find in ten minutes (book, shoes, paperclip, red jacket, etc.). Each team’s list should be different, so that all of the teams won’t be bumping into one another. When the time runs out, the challenge is over. The team with the most items wins.
When you’ve lost control, the last thing that you want to do is give your students the same types of lessons that you always do, because when you do that, you will not hold their attention. Take a look at the types of lessons that you are providing students, and ask yourself if they are keeping your students engaged and motivated to learn. Chances are the lessons that you are providing aren’t doing the trick anymore. If you find that your lessons are mostly sedentary, then you definitely need to implement more active lessons. If your students are actively engaged at all times while in your classroom, then there will be no time for any disruptions. Change up your lessons and you’ll see some wonderful changes in your students.
Consistency is key when it comes to classroom management. The more consistent you are with your classroom expectations, the faster you’ll be able to regain control. Be sure that you mean what you say and you say what you mean. So if you were to tell a child that if they get up from their seat one more time they’ll lose free time, then you must follow through with this consequence. When the students see that you are all business, then they will start to follow suit.
If you’ve tried morning meetings, teambuilding activities, changing up your lesson plans, and staying consistent in your actions but nothing seems to be changing, then you must press the restart button. Tell students that you have pressed the reset button, which means that tomorrow when they come to school, everything is going to start over like the first day of school. So if you took a week to create and implement the rules and procedures with your students, then do that again. Or, if you played getting-to-know-you games, then you’re going to do that again. Tell students that you’re starting over to help refresh their memories, because you feel they’ve forgot everything and that it’s your job as their teacher to teach them again. This refresher course is a great way to help students get back on track and regain control.
Taking back control of your classroom when you have lost it can be hard, but it is possible. They key to regaining the control that you’ve lost it is to act fast. Try all of the ideas mentioned above and you’ll see your classroom start to get back to normal.
What teaching strategies do you use when your classroom management techniques fail? Please share your tips and ideas in 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.