How Do I Keep My Students Quiet?
Joel | Teaching
I am convinced that classroom management is the key to success in teaching. It is something about which I have become passionate. Why? Because poorly managed classrooms waste the time and the lives of everyone involved. As a teacher, I hate it when I allow my students to be out of control. As a student, I don’t learn as much as I should. Either way, it is a no-win situation.
So what are some things I do to keep them quiet?
1. Accept responsibility
Everything that goes on in my classroom is my fault. Good things happen because I set up the expectations. Bad things that happen are because I allowed them to happen. While this is not entirely true — sometimes kids do dumb things and act like kids because they ARE kids — accepting responsibility will revolutionize everything that you do. Our culture likes to deny responsibility much of the time. Do not allow students to deny responsibility, and do not allow yourself to do so either.
2. Establish procedures
These must begin to be set up from the very beginning. How do you want the students to enter the classroom? How do you want them to ask to use the restroom? When is is acceptable to leave the seat? What happens when the fire alarm goes off? Does the bell dismiss the class? When do we sharpen pencils? How is homework to be turned in? When do we get our instruments out and begin playing? How do we go about asking a question?
3. Identify authority
Every group of people will have a leader. Is it going to be you or is it going to be a twelve year old? Figure out who the leader is. What if you’re not there? Who is the leader? I personally like the idea of finding out who the oldest three students are, and making sure that everyone knows that when I am not there, the oldest person in the room is in charge. Usually, that is a substitute. Occasionally, I may need to go into my office to get something. In that case, the oldest student is the one who is in charge. Even if it’s the kids who has failed two times, the responsibility will usually make them step up.
4. Avoid arguing at all costs
This applies to life. Arguments never win friends. Arguments never prove your point. Arguments are what make Jerry Springer fun to watch. Don’t have them in your class, and especially not with a child.
5. Over Explain
While I do not like the idea of talking too much, I also like the idea of giving complete information. I plan to spend this year economizing my words and yet increasing their effectiveness. Over explain expectations, but at the same time don’t say too much. “That’s not good enough” is usually good enough to get better results!
6. Over Prepare
Do not get to class without a plan. Know where you are aiming to be by the end of the year. Know where you are aiming to be by the end of the six weeks. Know where you are aiming to be by the end of the week. Know where you will be by the end of the class. Do not let anything keep you from accomplishing your most important task for the day.
7. Raise Expectations
People will give you the results you expect them to give you. Low expectations are bad. High expectations are good. Good enough simply isn’t good enough.
It’s amazing how one parent phone call can make a student work much better. This policy works wonders. if a child shows an inability to function correctly with the rest of the group, perhaps their parents want to know. It’s not always the case, but often is.