Creating a safe and positive learning environment for your students is one of the most important things to accomplish in the beginning of your school year. Making sure that the classroom runs smoothly is one of the hardest parts of the job. Forget all the course objectives, state testing, and student growth objectives, because without good classroom management, all your other goals for student achievement will be more difficult to reach.
Importance of Classroom Management (A Positive Learning Environment)
Having clear expectations of student behavior is important. There is not an exact recipe for classroom management success. It depends on your philosophy, your students, their interactions with one another, and the overall dynamic of the classroom. This is why building teacher/student relationships is so important.
If the classroom is chaotic and in disarray, it is hard to keep behavior under control. Many teachers use class behavior modifications, as well as individual ones. For my 5th-grade class, I use a compliment chain. The class works to earn compliments from teachers and adults around the building. One of the class jobs is to be a recorder and write the compliments on the chains that the class earns. The chain is then hung from the ceiling, and when it hits the floor, the class earns a party. On an individual basis, students earn tickets for various behaviors and can trade them in for class coupons or prizes.
How to Build Teacher/Student Relationships
Teacher/student relationships are extremely important, as students need to feel safe in the classroom and trust their teacher. One way to build relationships with students is to take a vested interest in each of them. Hand out a student interest survey at the beginning of the school year to keep in a file. Try to form connections with the students based on similar interests or experiences.
Overall, “just care” about student needs, not just academically, but socially and emotionally. If students feel you truly care for them, they will generally work harder. The greatest compliments I ever hear from my students are phrases such as, “I don’t like math, but I like your math class.” Making students feel cared for, important, and special makes them want to get to school. When the students have good attendance, it increases student achievement.
Positive reinforcement can come in many different forms. Simply praising students is an easy way to boost morale. Calling a student up to your desk and saying, “I am proud of you” can make a big difference in a student’s attitude and outlook on the day. When students are modeling appropriate behaviors, state to the class, “Wow, I love how __ and ___ are raising their hands to answer the question.”
Classroom management is one of the harder aspects of teaching, but without it, effective teaching and learning is much harder to achieve. Teachers who love teaching can help students to love learning.