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How do you achieve good classroom management?

I’m a first year English teacher at an all-boy, private school. I’m young, I’m a girl and my sophomores and I don’t really click after 2 weeks…

I spend a HUGE amount of time planning lessons and I’m following up on my threats–I picked up two quizzes the other day for kids talking during a test. Problem is… talking still occurs… almost all the time…

This in mind, do anyone have any ideas for good classroom management? Anything would help!

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2 Responses to “How do you achieve good classroom management?”

  1. Mindy April 19, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    Make class rules. Type it up and give it to students and post it on the walls. Go over it. Talk about consequences for breaking those rulse (loss of points, can’t leave for lunch early, sent to office, phone call to parents, etc.) You need to make sure to follow up with these rules. If they break a rule you MUST do something about it. Turning a colder shoulder sets no boundaries. Keep in mind, you are their teacher, not their friend. As for talking during a test, make it clear that if anyone talks during a test (even if it isn’t about the test) that you will throw their exam in the trash can and that they will not be allowed to make it up. (this is what most teachers do and frankly, it works). Also tell them that if they cannot be quiet that you will move them (people are less likely to talk to people who are not their friends). Lastly, space the desks apart; if they need to be moved, move them. In addition to the throwing test/quiz away, you could just try to slightly embarass them in front of the class by saying something like “Do you have something to share with the rest of the class?”

  2. bob April 19, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    I am a recently retired elementary principal and teacher from Wisconsin. Very early in my career I spent two years teaching English and History to 7th and 8th graders in a parochial school setting. I wanted you to know my background before commenting. I really do not have an experience close to that of yours. So take my advice with whatever grain of salt you think is appropriate.

    First understand, among 10th grade boys, there is never going to be a good, all quiet, all the time, classroom. Sophomore boys tend to act up just because of the age they are at. The well-used term, ‘sophomoric humor’ has been around for a long time, and it most certainly exists for good reason. So, do not be too hard on yourself. I am sure you are doing much better than you think! It is never going to be like a library in a classroom when it comes to 10th grade boys, no matter what!

    With the aforementioned now said, my experience tells me that all good classroom management begins with a good relationship between the students and the teacher. There is an old saying that goes like this, “I never really cared how much my teacher knew, until I first knew how much she cared.” I think this is true in most educational settings, and becomes more so as the students grow in age. Start with evaluating your person to person relationship with each student, especially the ones that seem to be the peer leaders. However good you judge these relationships to be, consider trying to improve them further. You can do this by just finding out more about them as people (e.g. family members, interests, concerns of day to day life etc.) Just asking them about themselves indicates a interest level that does have some intrinsic meaning for each of your students. If you can in some manner help them with some of their concerns, this goes a long ways to establishing respect and a great reputation among your students, as well.

    Next, know that displaying a good sense of humor, especially a self-deprecating sense humor, will humanize you more to the eyes of your students.

    Being positive both orally and in written form when assessing the learning efforts of your students, helps to have them see you in a good and respectful light.
    Always error on the side of being positive.

    Demonstrate a willingness to be flexible in words and deed. Give deserving students a second, third, fourth chance etc. Remember, in the end a teacher’s true success is not in how he or she teaches to the letter of the curriculum, but instead can only be measure in how successful the students become under his/her tutelage. You can teach scintillating lessons with magnificent command of the material, but if no one learns much, you still have failed as a teacher.

    Remember, that matching the correct form of reinforcement with the situation that calls for it, is important as well. You might recall from some of your basic psych studies, that generally speaking, there are only five different schedules of reinforcement. They are as follows, Continuous Reinforcement, Fixed Ratio, Intermittent Ratio, Fixed Interval, and Intermittent Interval. When you need to shape behavior of a couple of students or that of an entire class, select and devise a schedule of reinforcement that meets your needs from one of these five.

    Be unpredictable. Your sophomore boys, whether they admit it or not, will like you for it. This will promote their overall interest and authentic participation in your class.

    Teach with a creative flair, whenever possible. Creativity promotes interest too!

    Be open to their honest expressions and try to always to extend yourself to them, whenever and wherever possible.

    I think, if you can infuse some of the above suggestions in appropriate ways, your concerns over classroom management will fade in time. But remember this does take time. Be patient with yourself and your students. They are not expecting perfection from you and don’t expect perfection from them. Your relationship with these students will always evolve. Take care and good luck to you now and in all your future endeavors.

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