A few years ago the perfect storm hit: a difficult class, ineffective classroom management strategies, and some family tragedy all intertwined. My life was utter chaos. I felt like an ineffective teacher, I felt all alone, and felt like I had no clue what I was doing. If you have “been there” and “done that”, I would like to encourage you that you are not alone and things will get better.
After spending some time reflecting, I picked myself up off the floor and realized I needed to change some key management strategies in my classroom in order to maintain my sanity, keep my students from running amok, and get things running smoothly in my classroom.
Secret #1 Find a Management System That Works for You
Here is a newsflash for you: just because everyone else is using a management system does not mean it is the right system for you. Did you hear that? I am giving you permission to NOT jump on the latest bandwagon! Be proud of yourself for what you do and what makes YOU unique. Do not feel pressured or believe the lie that you are not good enough because you choose to do something different.
There are some truly great classroom management ideas out there. Other teachers on campus might use different reward systems like brag tags, or maybe they have behavior charts, posters, treasure boxes, use Responsive Classroom techniques, Whole Brain Teaching, Daily Five , or flexible seating as part of their classroom structure and management.
Think about what kind of a teacher you are. What will fit with your personality? Do you want a system that is very easy to implement or are you wanting to set up a more complex system?
I tend to like systems that are easy and do not take a lot of prep time; that’s just my personal preference. Therefore, I chose this year to do away with brag tags. I cannot handle the constant printing, cutting, laminating, hole punching, and constantly handing out that goes along with brag tags. Since I do not always have a lot of volunteers, I do not want to tie myself up with hours and hours of extra prep each week.
At the end of the day you need to be comfortable using the system you set up and handling everything that comes along with it. Research a few systems and think critically about what each offers before you jump right in.
Secret #2 Explicitly teach rules, routines, and procedures.
Once you have identified the management strategies you would like it is time to teach the students how to follow the rules and “live” in the classroom. You will need to teach them how to get supplies, walk through the hallways, what to do when they need something, etc.
One thing I did this year is create a list of literally everything I thought the students might need to know and printed it out so I could make sure to not miss anything. This will take some time and it may take the students a month or so to settle in. However, the benefits will last the entire year!
Thanks to my list, it was literally one of the smoothest starts I have ever had at the beginning of the year. I will preface that with the fact that this will work even if your class is not especially easy; it is all in the management!
If you need a quick, easy, and FREE list of beginning of the year procedures and routines, please check it out below. This should at least give you some ideas to get you started on what routines you might need to teach to your students.
Secret #3 Be Consistent and Follow Up
After you teach the routines and procedures you will need to reinforce them with encouragement and specific praise.
Enforce your policies and procedures fairly and firmly. You do not need to scream, yell, or be mean, but you do need to make sure that students follow the rules and the systems you have in place. Do not be afraid to repeat instructions, go over rules and procedures, or have the students stop what they are doing for just a minute to review.
Wash, rinse, repeat! Teach the skills, give them time to practice those skills, and repeat instruction / review the skills as needed. Do not give up on any student and be patient.
Even if you are in the middle of the year it’s okay to stop and restart. It is never too late to change.
Make sure to grab my freebie, Classroom Routines and Procedures which is available in my TPT shop.