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For new teachers, and a few old ones, classroom management is the bane of teaching. If you are a teacher having classroom management problems, you probably are having discipline problems as well. Improve your classroom management, and you decrease your behavior problems. Discipline and classroom management go hand in hand, but they are not the same. Classroom management helps you be an effective teacher.
Classroom management is how you run your classroom on a day to day basis. Discipline is your punishment/reward system for wanted/unwanted behaviors.
The following will give you a general idea on classroom management. It is not a cure-all. It is a starting point to good classroom management. Only with teaching experience, over several school terms, can you begin to be an expert on classroom management.
There is really only one main point to great classroom management. That is getting, setting, and keeping a routine. Especially how your class starts and ends Your students should know exactly what to expect as soon as they enter your classroom.
Classroom management starts before the first day of school. You MUST come up with an effective game-plan as to how each class should start. It must be an easy routine to start, follow, and maintain. What you do the first ten minutes of class is of utmost importance.
Ask other experienced teachers. They are by far the best resource for a starting point. However, do not take what they say as gospel. Only you know what your personality and experience can do. Your teaching skills will improve over time.
With that said, now you can plan your class. Basically, for good classroom management, there are four basic parts. These are only my ideas. Most books and classes have different ways. But classroom management is related to lesson planning.
Let's go over how to start a class session. This is one important first step of classroom management.
Four Basic Parts of a Class Session
The First Ten Minutes of Class
What Does the Teacher do During This Time?
What do I do After the Ten Minutes is Up?
And now you start the new lesson! But wait! Isn't there a little dead time between the review and the new stuff? Not really. You are not collecting the review, so you can smoothly go to the new material. However, experienced teachers will actually use the review as a really smooth transition. How? They will write one more review problem to be done as the teacher writes new material on the board. That way, you have a good start on the new material written on the board. You, as a good teacher practicing great classroom management, will always have your students on task. No down time.
What you do with the lesson from here on is your call! However, to maintain good classroom management, you MUST have activities for students who finish early. A good trick is to assign more problems than they can finish. The rest they do as homework. But not too many. Be sure and read the article titled Using Homework Effectively. Here is a little tip to help not only with classroom management, but discipline as well. When you assign problems or questions to complete, tell the students that you will shorten the assignment as to how well you think they are working until the class ends. How much you shorten it is up to you.
The Last Five Minutes of Class
But I Want to Give Free Time and Fun Time!
No, this does not mean you cannot be friendly. Please read the article titled, Be a Great Teacher. Your students must realize that your classroom is a work environment. It is not a place to fool around.
It is not a place for students to play games and socialize. The sooner you, as a teacher, realize this, the sooner you will master classroom management. It will lower your stress. Your school day will flow smoothly. I know that you as a teacher know may fun activities and assignments. Feel free to give those out! But your students must be engaged at all times.
You must start and maintain your routine from the first day of school. You must train your students. If you start on the first day of school, you will find this task easier. If you are well into the school year, start now! If you are starting this in the middle of the school year, DO NOT tell your students you are doing or trying something new. Just do it as if it is a natural progression. Yes, you could wait until the new quarter or semester.
Good classroom management involves having a time to do housekeeping chores and keeping students on task at all times. These are part of your daily classroom routine. Implementing these will only improve your classroom teaching and stress level!
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