With a class of sixteen to twenty students you can afford to cut corners. You can make big mistakes and not lose control of your classroom. You can have a misguided understanding of classroom management and still have energy left after school to head to the gym.
It isn’t an effective approach, mind you, and you’ll never realize your potential for exceptional teaching. But the end of every day is unlikely to find you hunched over your desk, head in your hands, contemplating a career change.
You see, when class sizes reach upwards of twenty students, stretching to near forty and forty-five in some cases, there is less room for error. Every classroom management deficiency, every weakness, every misstep, and every moment of uncertainty is amplified as the numbers rise.
Sloppy routines can become lengthy, painstaking exercises. One or two less than positive relationships can turn into four or five unhappy and resentful souls determined to ruin your day. And a trickle of inconsistency can grow into a torrent of misbehavior.
Here at Smart Classroom Management our approach is the same regardless of how many students you have in your class. We will never recommend a strategy, no matter its potential, unless it can be effectively and efficiently used with both great and small numbers of students.
The only difference in managing the two is that mistakes are less costly with the latter.
This is why so many teachers struggle as class sizes escalate. Behavior worsens not so much because of the increase in students, but because the teacher doesn’t have the classroom management skills to deal with it. For them, just five more students can ruin their year.
It can make them stressed-out, frustrated, and battle-weary. It can take away their peace and leave them unfulfilled and exhausted at the end of the day. It can feel like they’re spending the better part of every hour putting out fires and struggling to keep students on task.
The bottom line is that the more students you have the more critical it is to be on top of your game.
You have to know what to do in response to every act of misbehavior, every poorly completed routine, and every disruption in learning. You have to know how to handle difficult students in a way that doesn’t take you away from your responsibilities to the rest of your class.
You have to know how to build trust, rapport, and influence despite having very little time to spend with your students individually. You have to be able to create a learning experience your students look forward to and can’t wait to get to every day.
The good news is that it’s achievable and much easier than most teachers realize. Effective classroom management doesn’t have to be the uphill battle many make it out to be. It doesn’t take involved programs, contracts, or incentive systems. It doesn’t entail having to convince or coerce students into behaving.
And it doesn’t take years of experience.
Another of our guiding principles is that we will never recommend a strategy that isn’t immediately applicable and doable for anyone—regardless of where you teach, who is on your roster, or how long you’ve been a teacher.
You can have the well-behaved class you want no matter the size. With the right approach, you can have the same level of fulfillment, the same rewarding relationships, and the same deep satisfaction that drew you to teaching in the first place.
Six students or sixty, it’s there for the taking.
And we’re here to help.
Every step of the way.
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