Tip 47: Wait for Silence
Gain the full attention of students before explaining something. Speak only after everyone is silent. I’ve done a bunch of videos and articles on how to get the class quiet. You should have some kind of procedure for them to be quiet. It could be something simple like, “One, two, three. Eyes on me!”
In the book by Harry Wong called ‘The first days of Teaching,’ he uses a five-point system. He says, “Give me five.” So, first, the students have to stay quiet. Next, they have to put their eyes on the teacher; then they have to put down their pencils; be still and pay attention.
The point is to have some kind of procedure that you can teach your students to give their attention to you. It can be something simple, such as if you raise your hand, everybody should be quiet, put down their pencils and focus on you. Furthermore, don’t talk when another student is busy speaking.
As the teacher, stand in front of the class, wait and for them to quiet down before speaking. This does a few things: It shows the students that you are the leader in class and that your words are important, so they have to listen.
Also, if you start speaking before all the students are paying attention, or they’re still busy talking, then some of those students will not hear you, so you will need to repeat what you’ve said. Anyway, wait for full attention before you explain something because it makes you a better leader, and it gives all the students the opportunity to hear what you’re going to say.
Tip 48: Greet Visitors
Treat everyone with respect. Let students greet adult visitors to your class and expect their best behavior when someone is visiting. A lot of junior teachers go through this when somebody is visiting their classroom. It could be the principal, another teacher, or perhaps a parent. Imagine your embarrassment if you’re trying to speak to this person while the class is noisy.
It is very embarrassing for a teacher because other people see this happen and think that this teacher isn’t in control of the class. It reflects poorly on you as a professional, so what you want to do is have a procedure for when an adult comes into your class. The class must be quiet and on their best behavior.
Another good idea is to have the class captain as the “class greeter” or “class host” stand up, walk to the adult and say, “Good day sir, ma’am. What’s your name?” Let the class captain/ host/ greeter then introduce the visitor to the class when it’s a person that doesn’t come to your class too often.
Make the class captain stand up and practice introducing them to the class. So, they can say, “Class, this is Mr. Smith,” and the class says, “Hello Mr. Smith.”
Imagine the impact that would have on the person visiting your class. You’d look like a super teacher! A good idea is for the students to practice explaining what they are busy with, because when an adult visits, they might ask the students, “Oh! What are you doing?” They then have to be ready to answer, so practice it in class beforehand.