Pencils, Backpacks, and Perspective: In the Classroom

Today I’m going to talk a bit about not what’s being taught in the classroom, but how the classroom is being run. A well-managed classroom can mean higher grades for students, depending on several factors. The smoother a classroom runs and the more collaborative its students are, the better. Here are a few of my own personal must-haves in a class environment:

  1. Expectations: Setting out clear expectations from the very beginning should be a priority. Seriously. If you want to avoid chaos/make your life simpler/keep your students happy, this is a great first step. Lay out everything from behavior rules to how you want homework assignments to be done. That way there’s never any confusion in the face of something important.
  2. Connect: Honestly, this rivals #1 for most important in my mind. A teacher who is authoritative without being condescending and displays genuine care about their students, is a teacher whom students will want to please. Give respect and gain respect, and you’ll be golden. It’s not about students liking your class necessarily, but that will come as an added benefit.
  3. Community: Practices like announcing student grades in any shape or form, or playing favorites make me cringe. If you’d like to be on the fast track to a competitive and hostile classroom, that is the way to go. On the other hand, encouraging students to work together, support each other, and help each other will build the type of academic bond that boosts both grades and morale. Please don’t pit your students against each other. Unless they’re debating, in which case, let ‘em loose! (In the most collaborative, supportive way possible.)
  4. Focus: Encourage your students to connect what they’re learning to their real-world experiences, but don’t let them go on tangents. You know the kids I’m talking about – the ones who raise their hand for everything only to tell a five minute story that is relevant in an only very minute way. Keep on track and it’ll keep things smooth. On the opposite end, don’t let yourself go on tangents either. Students can sniff out the potential for story time (a.k.a. postponing work) like bloodhounds. And don’t think they won’t take advantage of that.

Alright, those are my top four tips for managing your classroom. Of course, these are very general tips and different classrooms will require different set-ups. But these were the building blocks of every great class I have ever had.

How do you manage your classroom? Let us know in the comments!

Please don’t let this happen to you. (Picture Source)