As a teacher, you may end up learning the hard way that lesson plans and class material is not necessarily the most important part of your day. Read below and see what you can do to to create a Happy Classroom!
When I started teaching I thought all I needed was to have great lesson plans and to differentiate my teaching to suit different learning needs. I believed that if students were misbehaving or unmotivated then it must be the lessons! Of course having engaging and interactive lesson plans is important. However, what I dismissed was just how much classroom management and having an active teacher personality really mattered.
Happy Classroom Rules:
Create a Goal-Oriented Atmosphere
The first thing that you should do before starting the lesson is to clearly lay out the goals for the day. Students need to know what they are working towards by the end of the class. Setting clear goals will help ensure that each student knows their responsibilities. Displaying the goals on the board will let you know which students are using their time well, and which aren’t. Once they know their responsibilities, it’s up to the student to use their time well. And this brings us to the next rule …
Keep Students Accountable
Once the goals are clearly laid out the students can begin their work. This is a great time for the teacher to see who is using their time well. Students that are having difficulty completing their assignments are usually either 1) having a difficult time, OR 2) slacking off and not using their time well. If you walk around and observe their progress every 10-15 minutes, you will be able to judge how well they use their time. Keep students accountable and remind them that in the end how they use their time is up to them. However, their time management and the amount of work they’ve completed is a reflection of their overall assessment.
The best way to keep students engaged, on task, and motivated is by creating rubrics for their assignments. These grading rubrics clearly state how students can get the best mark possible and what is expected of them during the assignment/project. Referring back to these rubrics is an excellent way to maintain good classroom management. If everyone knows what is expected of them then the dynamic of the classroom will change.
After an assignment is given there is still work to be done. Make sure that you are constantly walking around from student to student. This will allow you to help individuals 1-1 and have a clear idea of who is distracted. When students see that you are always on the move and interested in their work, they will be more motivated to complete their assignments (if they aren’t already). Give individual attention to each student as you approach them. Comment on their work, ask how they’re doing, make suggestions, and/or remind them of the goals that are set for the class.
Have all your materials prepared and ready for class. This is one of the best tricks a teacher can have under his/her belt. If you have everything you need ready then you will not lose the attention span of your students. Furthermore, the class will run smoother and the energy in the room will be different. You can feel a big difference in classroom flow when the students move from task to task in a smooth manner. Although interruptions happen and can be unforeseen, they do create a different energy that changes the classroom dynamics.
Students are incredibly observant and can tell when you’ve forgotten to record homework or follow through with tasks that you’ve mentioned. Keep a planner or a graphic organizer to write your to-do list. This will help you remain calm as well since you won’t have to worry about more than you need to.
As a teacher, you are definitely going to encounter some situations that ignite some fire within. Remember that these circumstance are just lessons for you to overcome. Whether it’s your coworker, family member, or student – approaching situations with a neutral energy will allow you to overcome it with ease, and not be blinded by your own emotions. As someone who is highly sensitive to others, I had to learn to not take things personally. If a student is struggling, missing classes, not listening, or doing something else that you would deem inappropriate – approach them with an unbiased and neutral demeanor. Whatever struggles someone is going through, it’s never a reflection of you – it’s usually a reflection of how they are doing inside.
Keep on learning!