Your Top 3 Management Tips

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Luke8Ball, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. Luke8Ball

    Luke8Ball Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 23, 2012

    As a soon-to-be student teacher at the high-school level, all I tend to hear about is classroom management. I've read tons of strategies in textbooks, and we've had role-plays in our classes. But I want advice from those in the field.

    What are the top three strategies that work (or don't work) for you?
     
  2.  
  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,468
    Likes Received:
    2,485

    Jun 23, 2012

    I think this is a really great question! I might amend or change my answers as I think about it more, but these are my initial thoughts.

    1. Keep students busy with focused, clearly-explained activities. If they have stuff to do, they are less likely to act out.

    2. Be reasonable / don't back students into a corner. From time to time there will be a special situation requiring special handling, and you should be mindful of that. Even if you have a "no passes, period!" policy, maybe you can make an exception for a crying fit or a severe stomach ache. Sometimes holding firm to the rules will put your students in a bad situation--either follow your rules and have an embarrassing situation in class or break your rules and leave class without permission and get written up for truancy. Give them an out when it's appropriate to do so.

    3. Get to know your students. If your students know that you care about them, if they see you at their dance competitions, if they hear you asking about their sick grandparent, they will be more likely to get on your side. Maybe they'll think twice about stealing from you or tagging up your desks if they know that they matter in your class.

    Nothing is a magic fix-all. You won't reach every student, although it's important to try.
     
  4. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jun 23, 2012

    Every year, someone asks this question, and every year I probably put something somewhat different, but what follows is the current version of me, the teacher. :)

    1. Over plan your lessons so that there is no down-time. Make sure that you fill every moment of class with your content, and minor discipline issues will rarely erupt. Teachers call this "working bell to bell". The more challenging the class, the more tightly I control that time. If a class is really difficult, I will put up a timer and hold them accountable to the second! ("You have 10 minutes to write this paragraph. Go." Then you move on to the next part of the activity.)

    1.a. On that same note, I change activities frequently. We don't do any one assignment for more than 15-20 minutes. Even if I need them to read silently, I would never have them work without me stopping and checking them with some sort of mini-assessment every 20 minutes. Again, the more difficult the class, the shorter those chunks become. I've had some classes that I wouldn't let work independently for more than 3 minutes (until later in the year when they got better).

    2. I don't have a lot of class rules. As a matter of fact, I don't even post rules. I discuss procedures as they occur over the first week or so of class (what I expect them to do when they come in and work on their warm up, how to turn in work, etc.) At the high school level, they KNOW basic rules. I'm not going to waste time with a list of "don'ts" when the first step in my room. I *do* have 2 non-negotiables that I make them aware of over the first few days: a) Don't touch anything that doesn't belong to you without express permission from the owner. b) Absolutely NO hate speech will be tolerated toward anyone. Breaking either of those "rules" will result in the students immediate removal from my room (either sent to the office or taken in the hall, depending on the situation). If I have a class that I can tell on the first day is going to test me, I'm going to make those non-negotiables known right away. If they are a "good" class, I'll bring those up casually as situations arise or if I see something potentially developing.

    3. I take my job seriously. I plan a lot, I grade a lot (and quickly), and I try to teach like every day is the last chance they'll ever have in their life to get the information I'm trying to teach. I'm constantly looking for new ways to teach a particular skill.

    4. BUT I laugh EVERY DAY. I don't take MYSELF too seriously, and I realize that my class is just one small part in their lives. I don't take their anger, frustration or lack of participation personally. It's very, very rarely about ME.

    5. I admit when I make a mistake and I apologize without hesitation.

    That's my room in a nutshell! :) I teach in an alternative school, and I don't have a lot of discipline issues. I never have, really. The kids know I care, they know I want to be there, and they know I like them as people!
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jun 23, 2012

    Caesar, I was typing as you were posting. It's amazing how similar our advice is! :)
     
  6. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,841
    Likes Received:
    50

    Jun 23, 2012

    1. Always have enough work to keep students busy for the whole class (plus extra, just in case). It should be MEANINGFUL and diverse work.

    2. When you threaten to do something (call parents, write up, send to office, etc) DO IT. If you don't, even just once, the kids won't believe you.

    3. Give plenty of good feedback. Call parents and tell them good things. Give students treats in class. Tell them how well they are doing. Try to give every student a compliment every day. And when you reprimand them (or tell parents about bad behavior), do it in a compliment sandwich like:

    "Johnny, you are such a smart kid, I can tell. But you have GOT to stay quiet in class! Remember how well you did on Thursday?"
     
  7. Luke8Ball

    Luke8Ball Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 23, 2012

    Wow, thanks for your thoughtful replies so far - you guys seem to keep it real. I really like the timer idea for difficult classes; there's certainly a legitimate difference between "take about 10 minutes" and "finish by the timer"! Without downtime, students don't have the opportunity to get into trouble! :p

    Also, in my education classes I've always been told to create a sense of community and to care for students. This seems like an obvious to me, and I definitely plan to. Do you have coworkers who don't seem to care about the students?
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,468
    Likes Received:
    2,485

    Jun 23, 2012

    Yes I do. I would caution you against trying to address that issue, though, especially in your classes. The fact is that I have zero control over whether my coworkers care as much as I think they should. I can't make them care more. I also need to be careful to keep my opinions about such things to myself. If I let it slip that I dislike another teacher or that I think he doesn't care enough or whatever, my students will pick up on that, and that certainly won't help solve community/climate issues in that other teacher's classes. Community built upon insults and mutual dislike isn't much community at all, and I won't have it in my classroom. As far as my students are concerned, I like all my coworkers and believe that all my coworkers are good teachers.
     
  9. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,841
    Likes Received:
    50

    Jun 23, 2012

    I think it's more that they're tired of the job. I've seen teachers who are burned out. Not so much directly not caring about kids, but more so going at it half-@$$ because they're too tired. I think most teachers will tell you the best part of their job is the kids.
     
  10. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jun 23, 2012

    On my current campus, no. I think all of us care but some show it differently. I have been on campuses before though with people who hated their jobs or who just hated kids! Why do they teach? I don't know, but you can't fix them. Caesar's right. You can only control you and stay as far away from them as possible. Negativity is like a virus.
     
  11. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jun 23, 2012

    I'll add to this, when I correct a kid, I'm very specific about what I want them to do or stop doing. "Okay, in order for us to get ABC done in the class, you are going to have to do XYZ (or STOP doing XYZ)." Learn their names as quickly as possible!
     
  12. Luke8Ball

    Luke8Ball Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 23, 2012

    Good ideas. I like to think I'm mentally sharp, but I'm awful about remembering names! Any tips for remembering 90 students within a week? One of my professors said to take pictures of individual students - that sounded creepy to me though.
     
  13. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jun 23, 2012

    Put them in a seating chart! That's the only thing that really works for me because it doesn't come naturally to me. Then, during those first 2 weeks (it doesn't happen in week 1 for me), whenever I talk to them, ask them a question in class, etc., I make sure I use their names. If I forget, I say, "Tell me your name again..."
     
  14. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,640
    Likes Received:
    57

    Jun 23, 2012

    Never argue with a student, ever. If they try, just repeat yourself and then walk away.

    I always tell students that they can talk to me about anything they don't like or think unfair before or after class, but not during. Nobody ever does, but they know not to try during class.
     
  15. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 23, 2012

    Ask your CT to seat the kids in alphabetical order for your first week. If you explain that this is the easiest way for you to learn their names, they'll probably be ok sitting this way for a few days. Then volunteer to return graded work so that you see the name and the face over and over again.
     
  16. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,841
    Likes Received:
    50

    Jun 23, 2012

    I have a seating chart for all classes and I also make the kids make "name blocks" the first day. It's just a piece of paper folded three times long ways [hot dog style] so you can set it up as a long triangle on the desk (I make one for myself too). Within one week of using the name blocks and seating charts, I had all names learned.
     
  17. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Messages:
    899
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 23, 2012

    I'm awful at learning names. When I was trying to learn 38 names at the beginning of my LTS position, I passed out notecards and asked each student to write their name and something interesting about themselves. It was a great way to learn something that I otherwise wouldn't have guessed about my students' lives.
     
  18. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,391
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jun 23, 2012

    Mean what you say - don't threaten something that you can't/won't do

    Don't mistake poor instruction/lack of understanding for bad behavior. Ensure that the kids know what to do and how they are supposed to do it Ask yourself if the class is not understanding or if a particular student is not capable of doing the work you are asking them to do.

    Don't get into an argument. State things as fact and leave it at that.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 301 (members: 0, guests: 279, robots: 22)
test