You finally step into your classroom for the first time only to realize you have no idea how to have effective classroom management as a first year teacher. Sure, you may have taken some courses, read a couple books, even saved a million strategies you saw on Tik Tok or Pinterest. But you may quickly realize that college didn’t really prepare you for the classroom. So you have started looking for different ways to improve classroom management as a first year teacher.
If this is how you are feeling right now, don’t worry! We’ve all been there. In fact I would say 98% of the teachers I’ve ever worked with or coached has said the same thing. But here’s the thing, it doesn’t have to be this way! You can have a well oiled machine of a classroom that is ran so smoothly that your students can run it without you… seriously! I have done it and I’ve helped hundreds of other teachers do it too!
So if you want to have a self-ran classroom in your first year, grab a coffee and read or listen to these five 5 Strategies to Improve Classroom Management as a First Year Teacher.
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Establish Clear Rules and Expectations
One of the first strategies to improve classroom management as a first year teacher is to establish clear rules and expectations. Establishing clear classroom rules and expectations from the beginning is one way to keep your classroom organized and reduce distractions.
Communicate expectations clearly with your students, using positive language rather than focusing on the negative. Outline acceptable behavior for all learning activities, including how students should speak to one another and how work should be completed. Explain the consequences of breaking rules, such as spending time in time-out or the natural consequence, so that students know what to expect if they do not follow instructions.
You want to ensure you are being consistent and fare. One way I like to introduce procedures is by introducing the procedure to my class. Next we talk about what it looks like and sounds like when you do it the right way. Then I have someone model the wrong way to do it. Afterwards I have my students practice the procedure until they model it nearly perfectly.
A common consequence to students not following procedures is to have them practice it until they get it right. This is a great way to be fare with high expectations without being the grumpy stressed out teacher. Overall, this is a great way to improve Classroom Management as a First Year Teacher.
Set Up Positive Reinforcement Systems
Another way to improve Classroom Management as a First Year Teacher is to set up a positive reinforcement system. As I Jen Sincero (Author) says:
That couldn’t be any more true in the classroom. Encouraging positive behavior in your classroom through reinforcements is a great way to keep students engaged and motivated. When students see that you focus on the positive more than the negative, the less likely they are to draw negative attention.
Rewards can be both physical, such as stickers or other small items, or verbal, such as praising the student for good work. I like to use scratch and sniff stickers on my super improver wall. Or another positive reward system are love calls (a positive call home) and love notes (positive notes).
Keep these rewards simple and attainable to encourage students to continue their good behavior. Flexible seating is another way of reinforcing positive behavioral choices, as it enables students to make independent decisions while learning.
Encourage Good Behavior with Open Discussion
Another way to improve classroom management as a first year teacher is to create an open dialogue between students and teachers.
This can be done in many ways. For example, utilizing your morning meeting as a time to review expected procedures is a great way to encourage good behavior. Stopping the class to point out when a student is doing an outstanding job, or even doing a love call are great ways to encourage good behavior in the classroom.
I personally like to have my students model our expectations with me and even ask questions and make them better. All of these examples are a great way to improve classroom management as a first year teacher.
Be Flexible with Student’s Learning Styles and Needs
It’s important to remember that not every student learns the same way, just like no two teachers are the same. That’s why another way to improve classroom management as a first year teacher is to incorporate different learning styles in the classroom.
When possible, be flexible with your students and be willing to try out different styles of learning. Incorporating a choice board on how your students show proficiency or master in a skill is a great way to attain this. Including choices that allow your students to draw, write, speak, act, or even create mastery are all great ways to incorporate different learning styles. Click here to read more about incorporating choices into the classroom.
Taking into account each student’s needs and preferences can greatly help manage disruptive behavior and power struggles while also helping to create a more productive learning environment.
Provide Clear and Effective Communication Methods
The final way to improve classroom management as a first year teacher is to have clear expectations when it comes to communication.
- How do you want your students to communicate with you?
- What does that look like?
- What does that NOT look like?
- What do students do if they feel stuck or need help?
- How should students communicate with each other and other staff members?
All of these are great questions to consider when it comes to effective communication in the classroom.
Overall there are several ways to improve classroom management as a first year teacher. You can:
- Establish clear rules and expectations
- Celebrate positive behavior
- Have open discussion on what good behavior looks like
- And being flexible with learning by providing choices
All of these are great ways you can start improving classroom management as a first year teacher.