100 Teacher Tips 14-16 | 10 second rule | Class Proximity | Classroom Routines

Teacher Tip 14: The 10-second rule

When you ask a student a question, be patient and give them 10 seconds to answer. Here’s what many teachers do; they ask a student a question the student is trying to think of the answer and then the teacher already moves to another student and then that actually shows two things number one the student will only feel like, “Oh, I needed more time to answer. I feel stupid. This teacher didn’t give me enough time.”

It also shows students that you are impatient, which isn’t very good for a teacher. You want to be patient; ask your students a question, wait for them to answer. You could rephrase it so that they understand, give them ten seconds to answer. Then if they can’t answer, go to a friend and say, “Oh Johnny, can you quickly help her out?” and give the pair of them time to answer.

Why do we do this? If you really believe in your students and you want them to succeed; it shows that you have faith in them. Think if you have a really good student and know he or she can answer something, so when you ask him or her the question, you would give them more time. There are many studies that also suggest that the more time that you give a student to answer, the better results they will have in that class later.

Teacher Tip Number 15: Use proximity

Don’t be afraid to get near learners, but also don’t tower above them in a way that may invoke a flight-or-fight response. When speaking to younger learners, go down to eye level so that you don’t intimidate them.

What do we mean with proximity? While you’re teaching or while the students are doing activities, walk around the classroom to show them that you are comfortable in the class. You are not going to sit in one corner and wait, you’re going to take up space, you’re going to walk around you’re going to survey the students like a general surveys his troops.

When working with difficult students, you also want to get close to them to show them that you are there and they have to be on good behavior. You want to be close to difficult students so that you can check on them and they can perceive that you are not afraid to get close to them.

A big mistake many teachers make when students have done something bad, is to stand above them and try to intimidate them with size. This might work the first time, but they will get angry with you. The next time you do it they might actually verbally attack you, or they will dislike you.

On the flip side, students who are meeker will be afraid if you tower over them and that isn’t a good situation to be in with students.

So, what I suggest is to get close to students so that they know you are comfortable with it, but if you are admonishing students, don’t tower above them and try to intimidate them. It is a weak tactic used by weak men and women.

Also, if you’re working with younger learners, get down on your knees sometimes when you are talking individually to them. They will like you more and will feel like, “Oh, this teacher isn’t trying to scare me. I can talk to this teacher.” So that’s a good tip when teaching young learners.

Teacher Tip Number 16: Create structures and routines

Structures and routines help students feel safe and understand their roles in the classroom. I have talked previously about procedures; you want to have procedures in your class that students can follow. Once the students come into your class, they need to know exactly what will happen, prepare them for success.

So, have routines. Let them come in and know that the teacher is going to do this, this, this and I’m supposed to do this, this and this. So structures and routines are the way that you set up your class for success.

Procedures are the things they have to do if they do something wrong. They will have that feeling of, “Oh man, I’ve messed up.”

So, make sure to have a structure in your class, so that students know what is happening, who do they go to with their problems. As humans, we feel way more comfortable and safer if we know what our role is and what will happen, that’s just the normal way people are.

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