7 Biggest Classroom Management Mistakes Teachers Can Make and How to Fix them
Here are some of the classroom management mistakes new teachers tend to make and how you can fix them:
1. Giving directions even though students aren’t paying attention
Class time is precious, but it’s a mistake to move forward with directions or a lesson when your students aren’t paying attention. Here’s what you’ll wind up having to do: say it again! Instead of repeating yourself, take the time to get everyone focused before you continue.
2. Standing in one place for the entire lesson
The first rule of classroom management is that you can’t manage people you aren’t paying attention to. Walk around the room in a sweeping manner, stopping casually to make eye contact or make a point. Don’t hover, don’t get too close, or proximity control doesn’t work. You’re just giving every student the vibe that you are never very far away.
3. Teaching the same way every time
It might require a little more planning, but it’s so worth it to vary your teaching methods. Not only will you be more interested in the way a lesson goes, but your students will need to be on their toes. An additional benefit is that varying your teaching usually results in meeting more of the needs in your classroom. Varying your teaching strategies means using different ways for kids to work with new or existing knowledge.
4. Expecting kids to respond immediately
I know there’s never enough time to get everything done during the day, but kids (everyone, really) need time to process their thinking and to do the work. When was the last time you knew you needed to do a task and you just sat down and got it done? Hardly ever, right? Some of the kids push back because they have to be in go mode all the time. Allow them to procrastinate a bit by the pencil sharpener before they sit down to do the work. They’ll respect that you respect the process.
5. Addressing poor behavior publicly
There is literally never a time when it’s okay or better to shame someone publicly. In addition, when you give yourself a little bit of time before addressing a student’s poor choices, you tend to keep your cool a bit better. Find a way to pull that student aside to address the issue and be sure to state what you expected the behavior to be. Don’t expect students to know what you want them to do. Even if it seems like commonsense.
6. Spending lots of time lecturing kids on how poorly everyone is doing
It doesn’t matter whether it’s academics or behavior, there is nothing worse than listening to a grown-up talk about how bad everyone is. The very first response kids have to this is, why are we getting blamed for everything? During the day, try to find one or two things your students are doing well. At the end of the day (or class), check-in with your students and ask them to share something they feel like they are doing well right now. It’s surprising how joy begets joy.
7. Taking everything personally
The best thing about teaching is that we are all human. The worst thing about teaching is that we are all human. So much baggage comes with school. There’s not enough time in the world to figure out why kids say or do what they do. So step back and address what’s happening without personalizing it. Your mantra should be, what does this student need right now?
You won’t remember all of these tips and tricks for classroom management, but with practice they’ll become second nature. As kids begin to stop what they’re doing and listen because they know they need to use what you’re saying, it’ll encourage you to do it more. Kids are kids, and students are students. They won’t be listening all the time. These tricks aren’t magic, but they help kids maintain their dignity. Giving kids dignity shouldn’t be a tall order, it should be an expectation.
Author: Kimberley Moran