Effective classroom teachers tend to have strengths in classroom management efforts. Teachers who know how to manage their classrooms create an effective environment that is conducive to educating students. The challenge for some teachers is knowing how to organize their classrooms so they have minimal behavior problems. In college, teachers are generally taught how to put together a discipline plan for their classrooms; this plan is supposed to resolve any behavior problems in their classrooms. We know that effective classrooms require more, and teachers who are successful end up creating a classroom environment that is caring, thought-provoking, challenging, and exciting. These classrooms serve as examples of how effective teachers run their classes.
One strategy these teachers use begins on the first day of school. Veteran teachers have learned that how they start the year off will determine the success of their classes for the entire school year. Initiating classroom procedures on the first day of school helps the teachers acclimate students to a well-managed classroom immediately. The sooner students can begin positive routines, the greater the chance that the teacher will run an effective classroom for the rest of the year. Moreover, student achievement is directly related to effective classroom management.
It is imperative for teachers to implement classroom procedures to which students should adhere at all times. These procedures serve as expectations for the students and should include what happens at the beginning of class, how to quiet the class, what to do if students need help, what kind of movement is allowed by students, and what happens at the end of class. Every successful classroom should have these few basic procedures. Additional important procedures include what students should do when they need to get supplies, turn in papers, respond to the fire alarm, behave when dismissed from class, and what to do when they are tardy or absent.
To help teachers become organized, they should identify a location within the room where they post classroom procedures. They should also provide a location within the room to post rules, schedules, and the calendar. Organized teachers also have assignments for the day posted in the same location for consistency, and some teachers require students to come into class and immediately begin working on their “do-now” assignments. This helps students get involved immediately, which sets the tone for the class.
Teachers can get support for their classroom procedures by sending a letter of introduction home with students and including a copy of the classroom procedures for the parents to review. This is a great way to start developing that all-important relationship with parents. Additional information to send to parents includes an academic action plan or syllabus for the semester. Students have a tendency to behave better when the teacher has developed a relationship with their parents.
In addition to classroom procedures, successful teachers have well-managed classrooms that are student centered; they are conducive to students’ collaboration and enable students to feel as if they are a part of the class. Student-centered classrooms generally have special seating arrangements so classmates can share throughout the day. In addition, student-centered classrooms provide students with options for projects and assignments. Students in these classrooms spend a lot of time working on group assignments, which helps students become confident in working with people. Student-centered classrooms also bring students closer together, which should lead to greater student achievement and fewer classroom problems. This strategy helps teachers successfully organize their classrooms, which is an excellent classroom management technique.
To add to the success of these classrooms, teachers should incorporate activities that are meaningful and engaging for their students. This will keep students interested, which is critical in successful classrooms. Students need to feel that they are part of the class and that the material they are learning is important. When students demonstrate that they understand these lessons and are invited to provide feedback about them, it contributes to the success of the class. Teachers can enhance such success by encouraging students to participate and celebrating their successes whenever possible. Some teachers celebrate with verbal praise, some with written acknowledgment, and some by posting students’ works throughout the classroom.
This entire process promotes efforts to establish positive teacher-student relationships. When students form close relationships with their teachers, they feel a sense of belonging, which is a critical factor in effective classroom management. In summary, teachers who effectively manage their classrooms demonstrate a positive attitude, treat students fairly, are caring, have high expectations for students, know students’ needs, are organized and prepared, and provide meaningful and engaging lessons.