First year-Classroom Management Help

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by PeterRabbit, Aug 26, 2021.


What was hardest for you when you started teaching?

  1. Classroom managment

  2. Content

    0 vote(s)
  1. PeterRabbit

    PeterRabbit New Member

    Jun 20, 2021
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    Aug 26, 2021

    I'm a new teacher, teaching 6th grade. I've been on the job for 4 "official" days now and I've found that one of my classes is insane. I have my expectations, rules, and consequences clearly on the board for everyone to see. However, it feels, especially today, that I had to stop what I was doing because there was too much talking when I'm trying to teach.

    Yesterday wasn't perfect but it wasn't too bad, today was like the invasion of the body snatchers. I've spoken to my principal after school to see if he, the VP's, or my mentor would pop in to just check in now and then to see how things are going.

    We got to where we needed to be by the end of class but it took nearly twice as long. Admittedly, I'm worried about how this makes me look as a teacher, my other classes, while not perfect, generally get along quite well. I've taken the appropriate actions in terms of discipline but I'm not sure what to do next. The problem isn't physical, it's verbal. I allow the kids time after instruction to collaborate and work together and I'm worried that may be the problem. They're just coming back from lunch and while I don't want to have to do silent lunch I don't see any other methods to keep the peace.

    I'm currently doing research into alternate forms of management. The other teachers I work with have reassured me that days like that happen, but really it doesn't make me feel all that better.

    Does anyone have a strategy or advice for getting through something like this without seemingly constant redirection?


    P.S. my internship took place during covid so my classes were half to a quarter of what I'm working with now. While that's not a problem the management I was learning and used was easier because there were fewer kids to work with.

    Also, I know and acknowledge that the first week is chaos, however, I don't want to be in a situation where I can't reel them back in and keep them in control.
  3. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

    Oct 25, 2016
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    Aug 26, 2021

    *IF* you can get away with it, take a day or two where you don't worry so much about getting through content and focus on teaching routines, procedures, and expectations. Practice, practice, practice the procedures until they can do what you want them to do without difficulty.

    If you don't have one, work out what you want to use as your attention/quiet signal. It's also possible that they're not grasping when it's appropriate to talk and when they need to be working quietly, so maybe a sign or light for guidance may help.
  4. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

    Oct 25, 2014
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    Sep 2, 2021

    Funnily enough I'm working on a series of blog posts about this right now.

    I think the biggest struggle I'm seeing with new teachers at my school with classroom management is their tone and body language. Your tone of voice and how you deliver instructions communicates so much more than just what you say. If your expectations are clear and straightforward, you've communicated those expectations with students, then the next thing to check and reflect on is your delivery of instruction or directions.

    When you give directions, stop moving, square up (straighten up your posture, look your students in the eyes), and use a formal register. So instead of a nice, "Ok everyone, it's time to line up!" like you'd say to your friends, think of how you'd ask an audience to leave a theater. You wouldn't shout, but your voice would be slightly louder, a little lower pitch, and more of a directive than a request. Don't continue talking or giving directions until that first one has been followed by every student. If a few students don't, call out the ones who did it perfectly. If necessary, look at the students not following directions while calling out positives.

    Use proximity - stand near the students who struggle. Proximity, eye contact, or even placing your hand on their desk can be a really powerful redirection. It also keeps students from feeling embarrassed, so they don't act up to save face (super important for 6th graders!)

    And practice, practice, practice. Whatever they don't get right, have them do it again until it's exactly what you want. The behavior you ignore, you condone. If you ask for complete silence in the hall and one kid talks, you either address it immediately or the class learns that "complete silence" doesn't really mean complete silence.

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