Many new teachers go into teaching because they love the subject matter, working with children and making a difference in the lives of others. But classroom management is also a significant part of being a successful teacher. Carefully planning classroom management strategies such as procedures and expectations makes the start of a new year easier for new teachers and students and helps ensure a smooth-running learning environment. A classroom functioning well means the teacher can focus on teaching and the students can focus on learning.
Effective Teachers Teach Classroom Procedures
Effective classroom management includes clear instructions of classroom procedures starting on the first day of school. Classroom procedures include times and transitions such as:
- Morning arrival
- Turning in homework
- Morning meeting time
- Morning seatwork
- Turning in papers
- What to do when finished early
- Unfinished work
- Passing out materials
- Lining up
- Afternoon dismissal
- Indoor recess
Each procedure must be clearly explained and practiced. Although it might seem excessive to practice each procedure over and over again during the first few weeks of school, the practice will pay great dividends the rest of the year when the procedures become second nature to the students. It also makes it clear to the students from the start that you are a teacher with high expectations.
Determining Classroom Management Strategies
Classroom procedures will be dependent on the grade level, curriculum, classroom layout and the number of students in the classroom. Curriculum that requires a full group instruction time will necessitate a classroom arrangement that makes it possible. The younger the students, the simpler the procedures will need to be and the more the students will need to practice as they adjust to school.
A new teacher should think through the different aspects of the day and determine the best layout for the furniture. Sometimes the arrangement of the furniture may be adjusted as a teacher starts to think through the practical procedures and flow of the day. It is fine to adjust, but thinking through any potential pitfalls before school starts is best as it means avoiding teaching students a new procedure when they have already learned a different one.
Wise New Teachers Learn from Successful Veterans
One of the best ways to develop classroom management strategies is to seek the advice and insight of a veteran teacher, preferably at the same grade level. This teacher will already be familiar with the curriculum and any special accommodations necessary. She will be able to offer suggestions regarding how to effectively implement the school’s overall discipline and management policies at that particular grade level.
Spending just an hour with a really good veteran teacher can save a new teacher hours of planning and many mistakes. Offer to take the veteran teacher out for lunch or coffee in exchange for gleaning information. Most teachers are more than happy to help a new teacher succeed.
Thinking through classroom management strategies is essential for new teachers as they prepare the classroom for the start of school. By planning ahead and carefully teaching students the classroom procedures, a teacher has a much greater chance of being successful, especially if planning carefully for the first day of school and utilizing these simple activities for the first day of school.