All new teachers make mistakes during their first year that make them cringe just a little. On reflection you realise that is how you learned to manage a classroom, but wouldn’t it be great to have some advice beforehand? Here are some tips from Cassidy teachers we hope will help:
1. Be Patient
Wait until students are quiet and ready before talking to them. This was said to be key by many teachers we asked, recalling having to fight the urge to talk, but how eventually patience paid off, as students would cue each other to stop talking.
2. Don’t Lose Your Voice
Try teaching in your normal voice. Sounds simple huh? Teachers we asked remember talking at an above-normal range until losing their voice during that first year.
Getting students’ attention by raising your voice is not advised as it causes stress and sets the wrong tone in the classroom. Students mirror, so talk at a normal, pleasant volume, and they will do the same. Use different tones when you are asking students to put away their books, describe a character in a story, or debate the impact of the Nile on Egypt. You will need to know when to use a no-nonsense, matter-of-fact tone or a welcoming, persuasive tone.
3. Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance
Many of the teachers questioned expressed this tip as being the most important of all, recommending over-planning. If students aren’t engaged fully then you’ll have a problem on your hands and not enough learning by the students. Engaging lessons take time to plan but boy is it worth it! Care to share with us some challenges and strategies that worked well for you?
4. Communicate Without Speaking
Making yourself visible to the class with a hand in the air is a great way to quiet any class. Get your students into a routine having them raise their hands, once all are up you lower them together and start to talk. For early years and – even KS1 – a good way to get the class’ attention is to try clapping three times and teaching them to quickly clap back twice. It’s a great way to getting your class focused on you and the task at hand.
5. Stamp Out Conflict Early
Any problem you may have with a student or students have between themselves should be handled swiftly. Tension in the classroom for you or your students can very quickly get out of hand.
But how best to deal with any conflicts? Try separating the students for the short term then make arrangements for the students to meet with you at break time, or Before/After School.
Act as a go-between and try to reach an agreeable truce. Ask non-specific questions such as, “How can I help?” Don’t apply blame or ask leading questions in any way, but make sure they know you care. It usually produces better results than confrontation.