The most important aspect of teaching has nothing to do with how much you know about the subject matter. You can know everything there is to know, but without good classroom management you will not be a good teacher.
Learning does not happen in a room where the teacher does not have control. With good classroom management you will be able to teach, as well as be able to relax and not want to pull your hair out at the end of the day!
Here are some classroom management tips for teachers:
- Start from day 1. If you lose control early, you probably will not be able to get it back (there are ways, but thats a whole different article). The old line of "Don't smile til November" is not really bad advice, just don't take it too literally.
- Don't let anything slide. Especially in the first couple of weeks. Set your classroom rules and stick to them.
- Prepare. Organize. Be ready! If you spend 5 minutes looking for the copies of the quiz, with nothing for the kids to do, you're losing them.
- Be confident! Even if you don't know what you're doing, act like you do. Once you learn to teach, you can teach anything.
- Let them know you care. Its a delicate balance. On the one hand, we're not going to be friends. But as a teacher, you should care about your students and find ways to let them know. Talk to students before and after class about things other than your class. When the bell rings, be all business though!
In my first year of teaching, I was eaten alive by a class full of sophomores. They weren't the best kids, but they certainly were not the horrible people they acted like in my room that year. When I realized that I had set up my classroom management all wrong, it was too late.
If you haven't started the year yet, make sure you prepare yourself to start it right. Its going to be tough to start controlling the class in the middle of the year. You'll have to use tricks and bribes to get the behavior you need at that point.
The hardest thing for new teachers is classroom management. But it is a skill that you can acquire by working at it. When you have great classroom management skills, you will find that you can experiment with all sorts of educational styles without worrying about one being a flop!
You'll be happy when you have great classroom management, because the teaching profession is fantastic as long as you are in charge!