As a student teacher, one of my biggest worries was classroom management. Would the students respect me? Would they act out for me? How would I handle difficult situations? Throughout my experience, I learned these 7 classroom management tips for student teachers that helped me get through the experience relatively unscathed.
Learn the Rules
Before class begins on the first day, take the time to learn the rules. You can find the school rules on the school website. Then, talk to your cooperating teacher about the rules for his or her classroom. Find out what the consequences are for bad behavior, too. During class, pay attention to your cooperating teacher’s behavior management plan. Write down any questions that you have, and discuss them with your cooperating teacher later on.
I quickly learned that if I wanted students to see me as an authority figure, then I needed to be an authority figure. To do this, I dressed professionally, made eye contact with students, and tried to speak with authority. When I conveyed confidence in what I was doing, the students were more likely to show me respect and treat me as an authority figure in the classroom.
Address Students by Name
Whether you’re teaching one class or several, it’s important to learn your students’ names as soon as possible. I’ve found that when I address a student by name when they’re off task or doing something that they shouldn’t be doing, they perk up and stop what they’re doing.
If that doesn’t work, ask the student to go the hall where you can talk to them one-on-one. When you do this, I recommend being calm. Don’t let the student know that you’re angry with them. Instead, show them that you care about them and want to help them succeed.
Connect with Your Students
When working in a kindergarten classroom, I had a couple of students who acted out on a regular basis. On one occasion, one of the students even escaped and ran loose around the school. So what did I do? I took the time to get to know these students. I talked to them about their families, hobbies, favorite TV shows, and more. We talked about things that we had in common, too. As I got to know them, they changed. They knew that I cared about them and they wanted to listen to me and obey our classroom rules. After that, classroom management issues with these students were rare.
Don’t Talk Over Students
This was one of the tips that I learned in college. I’ve seen it done countless times. The teacher stands in front of the class waiting for students to quiet down. It looks easy enough. However, have you ever tried standing in front of a class without talking? Seconds seem like minutes. It can feel incredibly awkward to have everyone staring at you. You may be tempted to talk anyway. Don’t! Students eventually take the hint and get other students to be quiet for you.
Focus on Lesson Planning
The best way to prevent classroom management issues is to plan effective lessons. When making lesson plans, try to incorporate activities where students can interact with one another. Engaged students are less likely to act out. Gather ideas that your students will love. Review lesson plans with your cooperating teacher for more ideas, too.
Discuss Issues with Your Cooperating Teacher
If a problem persists, remember that you’re not alone. Your cooperating teacher and university supervisor are your mentors. Don’t be afraid to discuss classroom management issues together. Let your cooperating teacher know what’s happening, and ask for advice on how to address it. Chances are that your cooperating teacher dealt with the same issue before and can identify successful ways to deal with it.
It’s not unusual for student teachers to fret over classroom management strategies. However, it doesn’t have to be something that keeps you up at night. Using these classroom management tips for student teachers, I was able to have a pretty successful student teaching experience and learned a lot of new ways to handle anything that came up!