Leading Practices for Positive Teaching

Positive classroom teaching makes a more comfortable learning environment and gains in student confidence. A positive classroom learning environment is critical. What does a positive classroom look like? What is the tone in your classroom? Do students feel welcome in your classroom? Do you greet them when they enter? Teachers who have a positive classroom are more likely to have positive students. Those positive students make it more likely that you will have success as a teacher.

Creating a positive classroom takes a few small steps for a large reward. A positive classroom environment enhances your classroom discipline and classroom management.

Teachers Have to Want to be There!

Do you love your teaching job? Do you hate showing up at your school every morning?

If this is the case, how effective do you think you can be as a teacher. Chances are, you will just go through the motions and then dread the next day.

If possible, take only a teaching job that you know you will like. Unfortunately, some teaching jobs do not pan out as expected. Sometimes you get stuck. Either way, you have got to want to be there. You as a teacher are the one responsible for the learning of your given students. Give them your best each and every day.

No matter how tough the teaching job is, you need to have a positive attitude and WANT to be teaching in your current position. I suppose it is possible to fake it.

So let's change that. You need to at least appear that you want to be in your current classroom each and every day. Seriously. If you really cannot do that, quit and look for another job. Your students only get one chance.

Welcome the Students

Before each class or school day, be a teacher that welcomes their students with a smile, and comments how glad you are to see them.

Never Show Anger

This can be tough. Teachers get upset. The key is to stop, breathe, think. Then move on as fast as possible.

Have faith that students will know you are upset. Many will appreciate that you did not go off. Students know when they have crossed the line. Why make it worse? Read: The Creative Teacher

Your classroom discipline must be mastered. Read the article on classroom discipline and classroom management. Your students will get the idea that you are a cool head. If not, they will think you can be baited and try it frequently. The ones who may empathize with you, will lose faith in you as a teacher. Don't lose the students you can and have reached.

Treat Every Day as a New Day

Forget about the lousy day teaching you had yesterday. Each day in the classroom is a new one. Strive to be a little better each day. If teachers look at each day as perhaps a new beginning, they cannot help but be positive.

No Question is Dumb

Answer every question with tact. Never make a student look like they are stupid for asking that. A good technique is to always say, "I'm glad you asked that. I know others had the same question." Or something similar. Try and steer the question to make a better point or reiterate something. Turn each question into something positive. As a teacher, this may take a little practice.

Don't be a Punisher

What does this mean? Many teachers have a habit of do this or else. Behave or else. Work or else. Teachers need to avoid this "or else" mode. Here's a newsflash. Students know what is expected of them. Assign work like you expect it to be done. If you expect your students to not work, then not working is what you will get. They will always go for the "else," or have fun trying. If you wish to assert that you expect them to work, then just say it without the "else." In other words, simply say something similar to the following, "Here's your assignment. You all know what is expected." (Notice the "else" is not needed?) Teachers will have to come up with all sorts of "elses." Students need to think class work is something expected and normal. There is no "else." How are you going to punish non-work? With more work? It is the crazy teacher who says, "If you don't do this page I will give you ten more!" Can you see how ridiculous this sounds?

Call Each Student by Name

Greet as many students as possible as they enter your classroom.

Give Students Choices if Possible

This gives a student the feeling that their input is important. Give them a list of people, places, or things to write about. Is this possible in math class as well? Yes! How many times have you heard something like, do problems 1 to 20, odd only. Why not change this to: Choose 5 problems from 1 to 10, and 5 problems from 11 to 20. It's basically the same assignment, but students have a choice. Any teacher of any subject can modify this.

Homework Should be not be Home Work.

Please read the article on homework: Should Teachers Assign Homework?

Positive Feedback at all Times

Use positive statements when commenting on students' work. Note how well students are working instead of the ones that aren't. Wander around the classroom so you can give feedback and help to all students.

Missing Students

Was a student absent? Welcome them back when they return.

Make Positive Calls Home

Calling home is a great technique for classroom discipline. But make the first call positive. Call home to praise before you call to complain. That is, call every parent (yes every) at least once to acknowledge you are glad to have their child in your classroom and hope the year will go well. And yes, call at least one time each semester for every student when you are pleased with the student's work! Read: Tips for Classroom Management

Accept Every Student No Matter What

Students are going to look and dress in a way that pleases them. Sometimes it will make you cringe. Just remember they are young people who are learning to live in society. You will be amazed how the roughest or silliest look is just on the outside. They are still students. This is one time that you do not want to make remarks either way. Don't be outwardly pleased with the way a student looks either. But be glad and show your appreciation that the students are in your class. Without them, you would have no job!

These are just a few ideas for a positive classroom and becoming a positive teacher. Eventually, your classroom will be such a positive place, that you as well as students will want to be there.

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