3 Things Teachers Must Do To Start The Year Off Right
(PS. Its not too late to relook at this at any point during the year!)
How to have the best year ever with simple behaviour management strategies that ensure a calm classroom.
The night before school begins has often been a sleepless night for me.
I would lie awake at the start of a new year, wondering what the kids were going to be like, having doubts about my ability as a teacher, worrying about how to juggle all the demands of parents, and thinking of ways to keep my workload under control.
The beginning of the school year is undoubtedly exciting, but it can also be an overwhelming time for new teachers, or even for experienced teachers and if you are changing schools, teaching a new grade level or a new subject area or going back to teaching after a break, this time can be even more stressful.
There are three things that will make a huge difference to your classroom, your sanity and your students’ success and they are not about curriculum, they are about behaviour.
Better behaviour means better learning:
1. Focus on relationships.
The best behaviour management tool you can ever have is a positive connection with a student.
Kids learn best and will behave better when they know their teacher cares about them as people.
Take the time at the beginning of the year to get to know your students, what they enjoy, what they are interested in, what their experience of school so far has been and give them the chance to get to know you.
Use what you learn about them to capture their interest and engage them in the learning. This is also the time to make contact with parents and begin building relationships with them.
Energy you put in now will stand you in good stead later on in the year.
2. Establish clear expectations.
This is imperative for effective behaviour management.
The beginning of the year is when you set the tone for your classroom by providing a set of guidelines for your students about the behaviour you want to see and for you to hear what their expectations are for you.
Ideally, class guidelines are decided collaboratively with your students rather than imposed on them.
Giving students a say in how the class is run and how behaviour is managed, increases the likelihood that they will cooperate with you and each other.
3. Set up good habits.
Simple, effective classroom routines support good behaviour management and prevent off-task behaviour.
Decide on routines for all aspects of classroom organisation e.g. how do students get help, what do students do when they finish early, where do they put their finished work, how do they clean up, how do they enter the room.
Teach your students the routines, then practise them and reinforce with encouragement and feedback.
Investing time and energy into setting up a calm, positive classroom at the beginning of the year, will ensure that your year is successful, productive and enjoyable.
However, don’t despair if you are reading this half way through the year, it is never too late to sit down with your class and start over!
Have a wonderful, awe-inspiring year ☺