Perhaps more than any other profession, teaching requires you to be mentally prepared before the heavy lifting of the day begins.
If you’re feeling hurried, stressed, or distracted in the moments before the students arrive, teaching can be unforgiving—particularly in the area of classroom management.
This is why it’s important to spend a couple of minutes every morning reminding yourself of the core classroom management principles needed to effectively lead your classroom.
I created a checklist to help you.
Reviewing it every morning will put you in the same, consistent state of mind and guard against making the mistakes that lead to unfocused, inattentive, and misbehaving students.
Your Daily Classroom Management Checklist
Before your students arrive in the morning, shut your classroom door and allow yourself a few minutes of privacy.
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
Now remind yourself of the following:
Smile and enjoy your students.
The more likable you are, the more leverage you have with your students and the easier classroom management will be. Greet your students with a smile, tell a joke or two, and enjoy teaching them.
It’s okay to have fun and love your job.
Far too many teachers let students and certain circumstances get under their skin and, as a result, react emotionally to misbehavior. Set yourself apart from the pack and don’t be one of them.
A troop of kangaroos could bounce through your classroom, but you will remain the picture of poise.
Take your time.
When you rush, you create nervous energy in your classroom, making students excitable and prone to misbehavior. A good rule of thumb is to never speak or move on to the next activity until every student is quiet and looking at you.
The great basketball coach and teacher John Wooden was fond of saying, “Be quick but never in a hurry.” Keep your lessons and transitions sharp and moving, but with an efficient, deliberate pace.
Tell your students exactly what you expect from them. Be clear and direct and then get out of their way. Give your students a chance to meet your expectations without micromanagement.
If at any point you become unsatisfied with how they’re fulfilling your expectations, have them do it again.
Enforce every rule.
Follow your classroom management plan and enforce every rule violation. It doesn’t matter who the student is or what their situation, understanding that poor choices have consequences is a critical lesson for all students.
By strictly enforcing your rules, you’re merely requiring behavior from your students that is necessary for success in school.
Don’t react, respond.
Decide that yelling, scolding, lecturing, arguing, and sarcasm won’t be part of your classroom management repertoire. These reactions cause students to distrust and dislike you and lead to more misbehavior and less leverage.
Instead, respond by calmly following your classroom management plan.
I encourage you to print out this checklist and run through it each morning before your students arrive. I’m certain you’ll see a difference in your students’s behavior as well as your enjoyment of each day.
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