When it comes to classroom management consistency is king - stick to these four simple principles and enjoy an easier experience this year!
Establish your boundaries
More than anything else, the children you teach want you to make them feel safe. The way you do this is by enforcing consistent boundaries in the classrooms that you lead. Do not underestimate the desire children have for you to do this one simple thing: set boundaries that they can follow.
As a teacher, when you consistently enforce classroom boundaries you become increasingly predictable to the students you teach. This means that from the highest-level crisis in your classroom to the lowest level misdemeanor each pupil can begin to predict what your reaction will be. This makes them, in turn, defer to your leadership of the classroom because they feel safe with you!
Do what you say, and say what you will do!
When you first begin teaching a new class, you are not teaching the class your subject, you are teaching them you! The young people sat in front of you are looking at what you say and then at what you do, and they are making a very clear judgement about you. They are deciding one thing: is this teacher good for their word? Do they say what they will do and actually do what they will say?
Dominate the space
If you are teaching more problematic groups or students, as all of us will from time to time, control the behaviour in the class by your proximity to the more problematic elements in that class. Do not teach from the front of the room only. Get a board clicker, so you can access and move along your PowerPoint whenever you want, and place yourself next to the pupils causing you most concern. Teach from right next to them. Control students subtly, by your proximity to them. Dominate the space!
It’s never personal so keep perspective
In all my years of teaching, I have taught many pupils labelled as “challenging”. Yet I have never taught a child that genuinely wanted to upset or hurt me. Indeed, in my experience, mostly all children I have ever taught would be horrified if they thought I had actually been hurt by their actions. For children it is never personal, they see you as “Sir,” or “Miss.” They do not know you personally, so what happens in the classroom should never be taken on that level. It is almost never personal.
Observe, reflect, observe!
When things go array, and they will from time to time, keep things in perspective. Even the most experienced of us have difficulties sometimes. When things do not go according to plan or you are stuck in a rut, remember that some of the best CPD you can find is often just down the corridor. Find a colleague who does not struggle with that class or that particular pupil and observe them with them. See how they do things and see if there is anything that they are doing that you could incorporate into your own practise.
Matt Ward is behaviour management expert and has taught in some of the most challenging schools & environments in the UK.
He is a sought after key note speaker and consultant to schools and services.
To contact Matt you can click on link via our Consultants page and make sure to follow him on Twitter @MWardBehaviour