Whether you are entering the classroom as a first-year teacher or have been at it for a decade, your classroom management style is one of the most important elements of your role as an educator.
Classroom management style can mean the difference between teachers whose impacts are felt by the students for years to come versus those who struggle to keep students engaged (and spend far too much time managing angry parent emails or concerns from administrators).
The right management or leadership style in the classroom learning environment sets the tone for everything you can accomplish with your students and finding that leadership style is a unique journey for each teacher.
No one size fits all approach works for every educator as your personality, skills, talents, and instincts will play a huge role in defining your style.
The four key management techniques highlighted below have led to higher student engagement and achievement. Teachers should make sure each of these strategies is included in some way in their classrooms.
1. Lead by Example: Respect Begets Respect
While maintaining an authoritative tone may seem like the ultimate goal for most teachers, that tone can work to your detriment if it becomes too harsh. Authority is best served with a side of kindness, and students need to feel respected to develop and display respect for their teachers.
There are many ways you can show your students you respect them, including remembering their names and interests, asking about their hobbies, and showing genuine interest in their specific concerns. If you expect students to be prepared and on time for class, you must do the same.
If you consistently show respect for your students, it will be easier to command their respect. You do not have to rule a classroom with an iron fist, nor do you have to be a doormat as far as your students are concerned.
Balancing your classroom authority with a tone of inclusivity, respect, and kindness will prevent disengagement and should lead to higher-performing students who respect and trust their teacher.
2. Give Out the Game Plan: Clear Expectations
Your students cannot read your mind, so it is unfair to expect them to do so. They cannot succeed in your classroom without knowing the specific goals to be met, so lay this out clearly at the beginning of your academic year or semester.
One of the most important elements of expectations is the why. For example, you might help your students understand that the goals you have set for their fifth-grade math class are directly linked to preparing them for sixth-grade math.
Students struggle when they feel a goal is arbitrary. By explaining the strategy behind your expectations, you will stand a better chance of the students buying in and meeting those goals.
In addition, be sure to hold students accountable when they fail to meet set expectations. Be crystal clear regarding the consequences for when expectations are not met. Students should understand your policies for missed work, disrespectful behavior, or absences. Create a specific plan and be consistent.
3. Take Time for Shout-Outs: Good News Matters
Parents often fear the worst when they see a missed call from a school or a teacher’s name pop up in their email. Surprise them by reaching out with GOOD news whenever possible!
Students love praise, especially when it is shared with their parents. Let a parent know, “Madison did a fantastic job presenting her novel study today!” or “I am so pleased with how much Chase is improving his scores on vocabulary quizzes each week.”
Share good news whenever you can with students, their families, and in the classroom. Celebrating wins fosters a positive classroom environment and motivates students to participate and work hard.
Another great way to share good news is by asking students to give each other shout-outs, which takes us right into our final tip on the importance of collaboration.
4. Develop Bonds: Collaborative Classrooms
A huge component of effective classroom management involves the implementation of collaboration. Teachers who can help their students work effectively in small groups, share ideas and constructive criticism with others, and forge bonds with diverse peers turn out students who are much better prepared for the real world.
Collaboration in the classroom also allows one to break from the normal routine. Teachers cannot hold students’ attention day in and day out with nothing but verbal instruction from the front of the room. Students of all ages and subjects need a chance to learn from each other, bounce ideas off others, and be expected to contribute to a team’s success.
Even outside of the class subject matter, you might form small groups in your room to meet at the end of each week to share that week’s high and low moments, giving them an important opportunity to develop bonds and perhaps find common interests with others.
Taking the time to create collaborative classroom opportunities will pay dividends in terms of engaged and happy students at school.
The Takeaway: Classroom Management Strategies
The tips we have shared here are about creating a truly engaging experience for students in your classroom. The time and effort you put into learning their names and interests, guiding them through your expectations, or stopping to spend a few moments celebrating an achievement will make you the kind of teacher students will ultimately respect.
Try to incorporate each of these strategies into your daily work in the classroom, and you can expect to see positive results.