The First Behaviour Management Trick I ever used as a Teacher
Many years ago, when I was going through my Teacher Training placements, I happened to take a class when my mentor teacher was off sick.
The stand in teacher was a Head of Department. At the end of the lesson she gave feedback and told me that it was most important to take control of the class before they walked over the classroom threshold.
This sounded like common sense and I was determined to try it. So after explaining further what she meant I implemented it in my next class and found that it worked a treat. This is what I started to do…
- As a teacher who moved around from class to class in a Secondary School, I made sure I got to class before the students. Get there early when you can, this is key! If this is not always possible, tell the students to wait quietly whilst you write some instructions on the board for them. .
- Use your whiteboard to mark up a few things you want the students to write down as soon as they get into class: this could be as simple as the date, the lesson objective, the lesson title. Do not let the students into the class until this is done. .
- Line up the students outside and if necessary tell them to stop talking. .
- Tell the students to walk quietly into the class and stand quietly behind their desks until you tell them what to do. .
- Greet the students when they are standing silently and instruct them to copy down what you have written down on the board. .
These steps can be modified according to the circumstances you find yourself in from day to day. If you don’t have to move around and you have a permanent classroom, then you would go straight to step #2.
But the important thing that this strategy does is to take control of the class before and after they come into the room: you are immediately focusing the students’ attention on a task rather than allowing them silly time whilst you struggle to control things.
You will find that you gain tremendous confidence and respect by following these simple steps. I have seen many teachers open their doors to rabbles and they wonder why they have behaviour problems!
In using this strategy you will find that your classroom time becomes teaching time rather than lost time in sorting out poor behaviours. Try it and see how you go.
Also talk to your colleagues and observe them to see how they manage behaviour; but try and choose a well respected teacher and learn from the best. Finally don’t forget to adapt any strategy to your own personality and environment.