As I write this I am taking a much needed break from some forward planning to write a blog post about something I have learned in my months as an intern.
Classroom management is one of the most talked about terms from students in the faculty of education. Asking many questions on how to handle the students if they are not engaged or disruptive. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous going in to my internship about classroom management. Even though I have a handful of experience working as a camp counsellor, camp director, youth mentor, youth care worker and volleyball coach; there were still parts of me that were nervous about classroom management.
I have compiled a list of 5 tips I have learned to effective classroom management from my internship experience
- Engagement: This is an obvious one but it is certainly the most effective. The more engaged the students are in the lesson classroom management seems to happen quite naturally. I learned this the hard way in many instances. I would do lessons that I thought were quite engaging but the students did not have the same interest. As a result, the behaviour was a little off baseline. The next day I reflected and adapted and made the lesson a little different but it turned out to be much more successful and the students were in a positive space.
- Good mornings: Do not underestimate the value of a good morning to the students. I started my internship hiding in my classroom getting ready for the day and staying away from the scary high school hall way. After a while, I started to move myself outside and greet the students with good mornings. Right away, I noticed an immediate difference. The students are coming to school just getting out of bed and they are probably not looking forward to a full day of school. However, I feel that when I greet them with their name with a good morning, it automatically sets the mood for the day that it will be a good day, that that student belongs and that I am happy he or she joined us for the day. Send the students positive vibes and they will send it right back to you.
- The power of structure: As most people know, I am very much a go with the flow kind of guy that doesn’t take life too seriously. I am often seen laughing and smiling and I never get too overwhelmed with life. I take pride in this and it is an obvious strength of mine. Many people always thought that my class would be very free flowing and me allowing the students to goof around because I would be goofing around with them. Although that does happen often (there is always lots of smiles and laughs in my room), I still set up rigid strict expectations for the students. The students know my expectations and if they are not following through they will certainly hear it from me. The students know that when they walk in to class they grab their chair, sit down and start either bell work, D.E.A.R or wait for attendance. What I have noticed though is that because of this structure, the students are comfortable coming to class because they know what to expect and it sets the tone for the day.
- Brain Breaks: Easily one of the most effective tools I use on a daily basis. The students absolutely love brain breaks and they are always excited about the new games we do. For almost every lesson I am making sure we have some form of brain breaks. The brain break usually occurs half way through the class or when I notice that they are getting off their baseline behaviours. Some of my favourite brain breaks include: would you rather, rock paper scissors, rock paper scissors squat, clap game, reflex drills, fists and slaps, four corners and much more. Brain breaks allow the students to get a break, stretch, move, re-energize and then get ready to learn again.
- Relationships: Many people know this is an important tool for me being a teacher. I believe that students need positive relationships in the school in order for them to be successful. I take pride in being able to cultivate deep and meaningful relationships with my students. I take a lot of time out of my day to sit down and talk with students on a personal level and get to know them personally. I also spend lots of time in front of the class asking students about their day, weekends and much more. I think because of the relationships that I have made, the students feel safe and comfortable in our classroom. Therefore, there is no doubt that in order for effective classroom management, effective relatioship building is an absolute necessity. Some people have difficulties making relationships with students so here are some tips.
- Talk to them during some free time and ask open questions: what do you like to do? what do you want to be? what is your favourite movie? what is your favourite subject? If you could be a superhero who would you be?
- Don’t be afraid to take the first 5 minutes or last 5 minutes of a class and talk to the students about what you will be doing for the weekend and what they will be doing.
- Be sure to open up to the students. My students know a lot about me and I am very happy about that. They are often asking about my dog, my weekend, my truck, my family and much more.
- Show that you trust them and care for them and they will do the same for you.
I hope this helps. I know I am still young to the profession and have much to learn. I am looking forward to all the learnings I will have. These are just some things I have noticed from my time interning and I am proud to say that because of the implementation of these tips, my classroom management is done well and we are able to get to learning and having fun at the same time.