Classroom management Statistics show that classroom

Statistics show that classroom discipline and management are often the causes of most fear and consternation in new teachers. Only a small percentage of new teachers will make it past the five-year benchmark. The task has become even more difficult over the past few decades as young people´s attitudes to authority figures have changed dramatically. Some of the changes have led to greater self- confidence in students. Others''such as the adoption of violence to achieve ends, attitudes to substance abuse and an increasing lack of respect for authority−have made classroom management and life in school generally more difficult and demanding on those who are responsible for maintaining a positive learning environment. Classroom management, like any other skill, is one that is not only learned but has to be practiced daily. The sooner in the year you start, the easier it is going to be further down the road.

Start the Year on the Right Foot

Starting the school year with a poor discipline plan is a costly choice. Students quickly perceive the situation in each class and realize what they will be allowed to get away with. Once you set a precedent of allowing disruptions, it can be very hard to start better classroom management and discipline techniques.

The teacher should always be well prepared, starting with the first day of class. Prior to meeting the class for the first time, the teacher should become familiar with the school policies concerning acceptable student behaviour and disciplinary procedures. The teacher should definitely know what the school expects from both student and teacher in regard to discipline.

At once, establish a set of classroom rules to guide the behaviour of students. Discuss the rationale of these rules with the students to ensure they understand and respect the need for each rule. Keep the list of rules short. The rules most often involve paying attention, respecting others and their material surroundings, noise restrictions and completion of homework assignments.

Once the rules are posted in a visible area, go though the consequences of rule-breaking with the students. Teachers should not hesitate to use the consequences on the first day. It will help with setting out the limits.

The First Month

Rules, routines and procedures should be reviewed everyday for the first two weeks. It is recommended to tighten the bolt then, as it is easier to loosen up as the year progresses, rather than vice versa. Words sometimes are not enough. The students might need practice to understand the procedures. Students will test the teacher. They need to know how much of the rope they can pull. So it is very important to be firm and apply the consequences. Some students need a lot of follow-through to be convinced.

For the rest of the first month, it is essential to keep a grip on the students. Don'ft let go. Continue teaching the rules when necessary and don'ft be hesitant at using consequences. Always remember: fairness is the key. Injustice is a big issue for the students.

Some students will keep testing you and you should take the time to continue emphasizing the routines and rules with them. However, try 'gafter-the-class'h meetings with these students, as it is not necessary to bother the rest of the class with this. If 'gafter-the- class'h meetings don'ft work, you may require a parent-teacher conference. Parents will then be aware of the situation and you can work out something suitable with them. Make sure to bring solutions to the parents though. Most parents don'ft really know what to tell their kids or how to handle these situations.

The Rest of the Year

The most important rule for the teacher is to be consistent. There will be some high moments and some low. But being consistent will earn you the respect of the students. The teacher, with time, will know when to give a bit of extra rope for the students, however, keep in mind the old adage: if you give an inch, they will take a mile'c So use your judgment wisely. If necessary, stay firm and go back to the basics. All teachers eventually adapt as they get to know their class.

In any case, GOOD LUCK this year'c


The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher by Harry K. Wong (Author), Rosemary T. Wong