There are many aspects of the teaching day which we, as teachers, have very little control over. How the students are feeling, things that are happening at home, their understanding and their relationships with classmates can all affect student’s behavior. As a teacher it’s important to take advantage of the things which you can control and manage the classroom effectively and efficiently to get the best out of the students and out of yourself.
Be well organized
This begins with punctuality. Being in the classroom on time not only sets a good example for the students but it allows you to settle the students easily before the lesson begins. Punctuality also extends to ending the lesson too. Students will become resentful of a teacher who continuously keeps them in class late.
Having a well thought-out and organized lesson plan is key to success in every classroom. Activities should be timed accordingly to fit within the confines of the lesson schedule. Prepare all materials ahead of time and don’t be pulling things together at the last-minute. Having backup activities is a good idea if there is a chance that students will finish their work earlier than expected. Extending an element of the lesson for the sake of filling out time is boring for the students and for the teacher.
Students will sense if a teacher is nervous or hesitant and will react accordingly. Going into the classroom with an air of confidence lets the students know that you are the authority in the room and that needs to be respected. Use positive language when addressing students. Rather than tell them what you don’t want them to do, tell them what you do what them to do. Say “look at your books” rather than “stop turning around” or “listen carefully” rather than “stop talking”. Have the confidence to include humor in the classroom, this can be a great tool in getting students to pay attention. Teachers should not become stand-up comedians in the classroom but be open to including humor in lessons where appropriate. Don’t be afraid to share a laugh with the class but never at the expense of a student.
Silence is an incredibly powerful tool in the classroom and can be utilized to great effect. At the beginning of class, stand at the top of the room and wait for the class to be quiet. Don’t begin the lesson trying to speak over chatter. Take a minute or two and just wait for quiet to descend on the room and for the student’s full attention. Softer spoken teachers usually have a more focused class as students need to be quiet in order to listen to everything that is said.
Using non-verbal cues in the classroom will save a teachers voice and can be used at any time to refocus the students on the task at hand. Non-verbal cues should be taught at the beginning of the semester and practiced so students are fully aware of them. Ringing a bell, clapping hands using body language or even facial expressions can make managing the classroom that bit easier.