Being in the education sector as a teacher is not easy. Just think of the educational supplies you need to buy out of your own money, extra time and effort that are left unpaid, and challenges you will be facing in and out of the classroom. One of the classic trials every educator face is classroom management. Your classes in college or grad school may be able to give you the necessary raw information you need but not the entire experience for classroom management.
No matter how hard it is to be a teacher, many still chose to be part of the noble vocation. So what can you do to step up your classroom management? What strategies can help you with it? There is a wide range of challenges when it comes to room management so we will try to be more specific on what to do:
Use more IMs or visual aids
If you are teaching kids mainly from lower primary or basic ed unit, you will most likely use more of your educational supplies. From cut outs of pictures, drawings, simple posters to complicated instructional materials, you need time and effort to do such things. IMs or visual aids help kids to remember your lesson better. Moreover, seeing different colors and shapes help them to be more engaged with your discussion.
Have more interactive activities
It would be better if your visual aids are interactive at the same time, meaning your students can move them, stick on the board, and whatnot. If not, you can design activities that will engage students in your lesson. Instead of the typical lecture-type discussion, why not have a motivation that includes your students to share their thoughts with their seatmates or to the whole class. You can also strategize your discussion in such a way their answers will let the lesson flow. For example, your teaching is about traditions in the Philippines. Ask them what are the traditions they know and help them describe it.
Make your students feel that they are important
Connected to the previous point, to make your students more alive and participative during class discussions, you have to make them feel that they are essential. Some students tend to be passive because they feel or think that their presence or non-participation won’t make any difference in the class. Or maybe, they have been discouraged when they answered before in recitations. Note that whatever the answer of your students are, be it right or wrong, you have to acknowledge it and motivate them to think more ideas. Encourage instead of scolding them.
Be careful and sensitive to your words
Whether you are teaching kids or young adults, you always have to be careful with your words. If you would be in your students’ position and your teacher scolds you as if there’s no tomorrow and the language used is very demeaning, you will feel discouraged. Of course, there are times that you just can’t hold it and hurtful words blurt out of your mouth. If you know you tend to be like that, take a deep breath and close your eyes if necessary. Count from one to ten. Just keep in mind that tongue is mightier than the sword. You are an educator to help and encourage your students to learn more and hopefully love learning.
Teach through the level that your students understand
It would be better if you talk and teach at the level that your students can understand. It doesn’t mean that you need to lower your standards or act like a kid. This point just means that you get to know what interests them or keeps them hooked. For example, if your students like music, you may want to have activities that involve music. Use the things that they like to motivate them and participate more in your class.
Create routines and follow these
Discipline is one of the values we want to instill in our students. One of the practical ways to be successful in teaching discipline is by creating routines and following these. You can assign weekly cleaners, prayer leaders, or have your class elect officers. Giving them responsibility and making sure that they do their mandate helps them to have the value of discipline. It will do them good in the long run as well, even after school.
Don’t be afraid to establish authority
One of my colleagues said that the usual dilemma of newbie teachers is establishing authority in the class. I can attest to that as I also have that problem a couple of times. You want to be nice, get your students’ trust and let them be comfortable with you. However, you also feel that your authority is compromised. You want to discipline them, but you don’t want them to feel bad if you are going to be stricter in class. But let me tell you this: do not be afraid to establish your authority.
Your students will still respect you even if you are funny, they will always listen to you or confide to you even if you appear to be very hard. You do not need to forsake your authority for you to get them on your side . In the first place, you are their teacher, and you are their second parent. Being strict and loving should have a right mix.
In conclusion, there is number of ways for a teacher or educator to manage their class and have their students interested in discussions. We have given you some, and you need to filter which of the following works best in your situation. We all know that every school is sui generis, and so are the students. You have to trust your capabilities and skills as a teacher.