When it comes to education, you can never stop practicing classroom management. After all, students will always misbehave. The question is, “how will you deal with it when they do?”
You are probably familiar with certain guidelines such as modeling good behavior and establishing consistent rules. While these tools are great, they can be hard to implement when you only have a few hours in the classroom. If you are a substitute, consider these 3 unique classroom management tools to keep your students attentive and on task for the day.
1. Greet Your Students at the Door
You might be wondering how greeting students at the door has anything to do with classroom management. You aren’t exactly catching them misbehaving. Well, studies show that welcoming students at the door leads to less disruptive behavior and more academic engagement throughout the day. Sometimes keeping students focused means you must be proactive about classroom management.
Greeting students when they walk into the class gives you, as the substitute teacher, the opportunity to introduce yourself and get to know your students for the day. It creates an immediate connection that, otherwise, may have never been made. Show students that you are invested in them by asking “how are you today?” Consider offering students high fives or a handshakes. Letting them choose establishes a sense of mutual respect and sets a positive tone for the day.
2. Use Visual and Audible Cues
This tip may not seem practical since students won’t be familiar with your cues, but even as a substitute, there are ways to make this technique effective. The key is to be surprising. Hand signals can work well with students you see on a regular basis, but as a substitute, you’ll want to do something that stands out a bit more.
For example, turn on and off the lights. Students who are distracted will wonder what’s going on and look around the room. When they see you flickering the lights, their attention will be diverted from their conversation back to you thanks to this visual cue.
Another tool to use in classroom management is humor. For instance, if students are starting to get chatty, you could start playing “Stop” by the Spice Girls. Imagine students in the middle of a side conversation when they hear, “stop right now, thank you for much”. It will not only stop them from talking, but get them re-engaged with you as the teacher. That said, if you choose to go this route, you will want to make sure that the content you use is appropriate and non-offensive.
3. Reinforce Positive Behavior
It’s easy to find yourself being the disciplinary rather than the teacher for the day. You may find yourself repeatedly asking some students to stop talking. Nothing seems to work. Try noting the good behavior you see rather than bad behavior.
Punishing students puts them in a negative headspace and actually keeps them disengaged. However, calling out positive actions reinforces the behavior you would like to see students display. Rather than making disobedient kids feel bad, it shows them what to do and gives them the opportunity to change. Nobody likes to be put in their place, but everyone likes to be praised!
What do you think of these classroom management strategies? Give them a shot and let us know how it goes in the comments!