Students feel safer if they know what their boundaries are. Tip 4 is to teach the students the rules and the procedures of the classroom, but that doesn’t matter if you don’t enforce the rules fairly!
That means that the rules should apply to all the students at the same standard, because if you punish one student for doing something and you don’t punish another student for doing the same thing, then you’re not being fair. And one of the biggest things that we as humans feel at a very instinctive level is that if something is unfair, we don’t like that and students expect you as the teacher to be a fair judge.
If you are fair, students will accept your judgment. They will listen to you because they feel like they can trust you and you will do the right thing for the class.
As a teacher, you should also not be too strict. If there’s something small that happens, just turn a blind eye. You don’t want to punish students just for doing something small.
Sometimes it’s better to let it go. For example, if a student says something bad, but it’s not aimed at you or one of the other students, it just comes out in frustration.
If it’s possible, just ignore it as if you didn’t hear it. So, tip 5 is to enforce your rules fairly. Students will feel safer with you if they know they can trust your judgment and they know what their boundaries are in the classroom.
The student isn’t bad, but the behavior is unwanted. It is very important for us as teachers to build relationships with our students and if they feel we don’t like them, they won’t like us back and they won’t feel comfortable with us.
So, whenever something happens in the class don’t get angry at the student, say: “I’m disappointed; that behavior is unwanted and I don’t want to see it again!”
But if you make it about the student, they will feel you are attacking them. The best way to solve problems in the classroom is by going to the student and saying, “This is not the behavior I want in my classroom. I think you can do better. I want you to try harder in the future, okay?” instead of going to the student and saying, “What you are doing is horrible! I hate that you’re doing that!”
Make sure you punish the behavior and not the child.
The first minutes of class are crucial! Have a procedure set up for the students to start with as soon as they get into class. Every teacher has a routine for their classroom. Many teachers wait for all the students to come inside, sit down and greet the students and do roll call (attendance), but you are wasting precious time!
Instead, have a procedure for when the students come in where they have to open up their books and review work they’ve done, or preview the work that you will be doing. Or they can take out a book to read, but get them into your classroom and get them working as quickly as possible.
You can take roll call while they’re sitting down, instead of having a discussion with the students. I know some teachers like to have roll call because it calms the students down. If that is what you like to do, then by all means do so, but I still think it’s very important to get the students working as soon as possible.
So, when they get into the classroom, they know the teacher expects me to take out my book and to do this. So, you don’t have the problem of coming into the class telling the kids, “Okay everyone, settle down, settle down. Jimmy put away, take your seat…” So, when they get into the classroom, they have to sit down, they have to take out their books and they are ready to work. Trust me, if your principal sees this happening in your class, they will be so impressed with you because teachers generally don’t do that. So, you will stand out from other teachers if you get your students working as soon as they get into your classroom.