Troublemaker in classroom.Behavior…misbehavior. Control…chaos. Learning…messing around. Teaching…babysitting. The truth is that, as a teacher, if you are unable to create and maintain a positive learning atmosphere, which INCLUDES setting up situations where students are well behaved, then you will have chaos, messing around, and you’ll be doing nothing but babysitting. Wouldn’t you rather help students behave, personally have a sense of control, make sure everyone is learning while you’re teaching? I thought so. This article provides some ideas to use in various ‘misbehavior’ situations.

Steps to go through when one or more students act up….

  1. Pause.
  2. Physical presence (step closer to students who are out of line - or veering in that direction).
  3. Make eye contact with student(s) who are misbehaving or are inattentive.
  4. Call student’s name; ask a relatively easy question.
  5. Nonverbal cue (established ahead of time). This can be set up on a student-by-student basis - just as a reminder to focus.
  6. Physical touch on forearm.
  7. Give student choice to behave or leave room, go to corner, go to office, whatever you have established.
  8. Follow up with student, meet in hall, check with office, whatever is appropriate.

Steps to go through when misbehavior is chronic…

  1. Talk with student individually (assertively, of course).
  2. Develop a plan with the student.
  3. If misbehavior continues, bring in parents for a conference.
  4. Develop a plan with the parents and student.
  5. If misbehavior continues, involve other staff at the school (counselor, administrators, other teachers).
  6. Develop a plan with all parties.
  7. If misbehavior continues, student loses the privilege to be in your class. And it is a privilege. Just ask students in other countries besides the U.S.

Steps to go through when the entire (or almost the entire) class is misbehaving…

  1. Pause.
  2. Ask students to stop everything (with elementary and middle school, ‘freeze’ works, if you have practiced and rewarded the behavior).
  3. Assertively inform students that their behavior is not acceptable based on the classroom rules and expectations.
  4. Change activity, focus, something to get them going in a different direction.
  5. Have all students put their heads down if behavior continues–something (anything) to get whatever the hubbub is stopped.
  6. Bring ringleader into hall with you (“Francesca, I will speak with you in the hall, please”).
  7. Do not get into a power struggle with a student; you will not win. Ever.
  8. Call for help if it is required. Establish a “code blue” with a veteran teacher who is near you or with the administration, prior to the time you need it.

Unfortunately, there is no magical way to gain and maintain positive classroom management. There are, however, general steps you can take to do so. Give the ideas in this article a try…more than once. Talk with colleagues to get their support and feedback. As a community of educators, we can make a difference in schools and in students’ lives. Learning is the ONLY thing that will ultimately make a difference in the choices they have later in life. Begin now to establish an atmosphere where the learning can take place.

meggin_if_you_do_nothing_else_this_semesterAnd if you want to get your current semester organized or prepare for the next, I highly recommend If You Do Nothing Else This Semester. With the strategies I present you will get the strategies you need to not only have a successful semester, but a successful year.





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