Have you ever had a student’s behavior spiral out of control and you felt like there was nothing you could do? Or, have your students been so unruly that they no longer responded to your requests or commands? If that sounds familiar, then this blog post is for you. I am going to share with you some warning signs of when a teacher has lost control of their classroom.
If any one of these situations sounds all too familiar, don’t worry! You are not alone, and we can help get things back on track. This blog will offer solutions as well as tips for preventing future problems. We want our classrooms to be safe spaces where both teachers and students feel respected and valued. There is hope!
Why is it important to have control over your classroom?
I think that most teachers would say it is important to have control over their classrooms for effective teaching and learning. Here are 10 reasons why:
1) It helps students learn better when they feel safe/comfortable. If they aren’t comfortable, then they will be distracted by their uncomfortable feelings or maybe even anxious about being in a new environment with new rules.
2) When students feel safe and comfortable it helps them respect you as a teacher and listen to what you have to say. You can ask them questions and they will answer without fear of consequences because there aren’t any.
3) It avoids disruptions and fights between kids, which can be hard for teachers to manage if they are trying to teach at the same time.
4) It gives you more authority over your students which can help them gain discipline and learn responsibility for their actions.
5) It can help keep kids in control, so they don’t act out but rather focus on learning the school material.
6) Students are less likely to bully each other or make fun of each other if they are following the same rules.
7) Kids will feel like their ideas are respected which encourages them to give more input in class discussions. You should never forget that one of your jobs is to get kids involved in class, even if they don’t always volunteer themselves!
8) Your classes may move too quickly for students if they aren’t following the rules you set. They may not get everything that is being taught or be able to participate fully which slows down everyone else.
9) Kids will be more focused on what you are teaching them than other things because they know you won’t tolerate unruly behavior.
10) If there are common distractions in your classroom, it can help to have a set time and place for those distractions, so they don’t really affect the class.
These are just a few reasons why having control over your classroom is important. As you can see from the list above, it’s not just about being able to have fun because you’re in charge of everything! It’s about being able to keep students safe and encourage a learning environment.
What are the signs that a teacher has lost control over his or her classroom?
When a teacher is losing control over his or her classroom, multiple signs will appear in the space.
Here, we have put together a list of 19 things you can look for to determine if your classroom management has gone astray. If you begin to see more than a handful of these in your room, it’s time to regroup and rethink the strategy of your next plan of action.
1. Students are tired of hearing you talk.
2. Your voice is getting louder and more agitated as your gestures become more animated.
3. You’re starting sentences with phrases like “I’ve already told you” or “I’ve said this a thousand times.”
4. You’re purposely playing soothing music to cover up the noise of chaos in your classroom.
5. You feel like you’ve become a broken record.
6. Your students are now using your past-tense verbal warnings as punchlines for their jokes (“Hey Mr., don’t go there!”).
7. The one or two students who have mastered the art of invisibility are now being disruptive again.
8. You’re making threats you don’t mean and can’t uphold. (“I’m taking away recess for a week!”).
9. Students seem to be inventing rules as they go along just to test if you’ll actually follow through with them.
10. Your students have now become actors, throwing themselves on the floor in mock pain instead of actually being hurt.
11. You’re constantly calling out names for students to line up and head off to their next destination even though they’ve been lining up quietly since the first week of school.
12. When you tell a student to stop doing something, they look at you and laugh.
13. Your students are now “forgetting” their supplies left and right.
14. Your entire morning is spent chasing students from one end of the room to the other.
15. You’re teaching five-minute lessons after 30-minute planning periods just so your day can go somewhat according to plan.
16. Only one or two students are raising their hands to answer questions.
17. Interrupting students now have the floor.
18. When you start talking, students begin staring at their watches.
19. You spend most of your time policing the room instead of teaching.
As a teacher, it’s important to always continue trying to improve upon our craft and expand our knowledge to better help our students achieve their goals. If you find yourself losing control of your classroom too often, consider enrolling in a continuing education workshop or class that can help you get back on track. You might also want to consider asking for some additional support from an outside source. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out for help when it’s needed!
Strategies to help you take back control over your classroom.
As teachers, we all know what it’s like to lose control of our classrooms. A typical class in a school can be unpredictable and chaotic at times, but there are certain strategies that you can employ to regain the command you once had when teaching your students. Here is a list of 19 techniques that will help you take back control over your classroom.
1) Acknowledge the behavior
If a pupil swears in class, let them know that this isn’t acceptable by telling them not to use such language and to respect their classmates. This is a common mistake that many teachers make: ignoring the bad behavior instead of disciplining it. If you always ignore negative or disruptive behavior in your classroom, they will never change.
2) Discuss with a student
If a student continuously interrupts the class or causes trouble by acting out, don’t ignore it. Talk to them after class and let them know that their behavior is disrupting the learning of others. Ask questions such as: “Do you understand why I’m upset with your behavior?” or “How can we work together to make sure this doesn’t happen again?”.
3) Stay calm and firm
Teachers need to show authority, but it must be done respectfully. If you confront the situation with an aggressive tone of voice, nothing is stopping your students from reciprocating this behavior towards you. If you feel yourself starting to raise your voice, take a deep breath and count to 10. This will help you maintain the composure that is required when dealing with difficult situations.
4) Use active listening
Active listening can be very helpful in gaining control over your classroom. I’m sure that certain students misunderstand what you tell them because you don’t clearly communicate your instructions. If students are constantly asking questions about what you are saying, try repeating yourself by paraphrasing what was said previously. For example, “Okay class…I want you all to take out your books”. This will allow the class to clearly understand that they need to open their textbooks.
5) Stay calm and stay in control
When you feel like students are starting to lose respect for you, it can be very difficult to regain this authority. Remember that the more frustrated you become, the less likely your students will listen to what you have to say. If a student is acting out in class and causing trouble, ignore them until they stop. By giving in to their demands, you are reinforcing the behavior that is causing you trouble.
6) Use assertive body language
Having an assertive posture will help show your students that you are in control of the classroom and that they don’t intimidate you. Be sure to look your students in the eye, stand up straight with your shoulders pulled back, and try to build a classroom that is facing you. If your class faces away from you, it makes it look as though they are more interested in talking amongst themselves rather than listening to your lesson.
7) Don’t be too nice
While it is wise not to antagonize your students or make them think that you are a pushover, it is equally as important not to be too nice. If you allow your students to walk over you and disrespect you regularly, they will never learn proper respect for their teachers. Try listening to the suggestions that are given by your students, but make sure that they are sensible before implementing them.
8) Address the problem behavior early
If there is a student who constantly disrupts your class by acting out, you must discipline them as soon as the disruption occurs. By waiting until you have completely lost control of your classroom, it will be very difficult to take back this authority. Make sure that every student knows what types of behaviors are unacceptable and explain why these behaviors should not occur in your class.
9) Be firm but fair
While teachers need to stand their ground and maintain their authority, there is no reason that they should be unnecessarily harsh with their students. Maintaining a balance between being nice to your students, but at the same time not allowing them to walk all over you, will help gain respect from the student body. While it may take some time for you to find this balance, once you do you will be able to get your students to listen more regularly.
10) Stay positive
Every class has that one student who seems to always find a way to bring everyone’s morale down with him/her. These students can be frustrating because they don’t mean to disappoint you, but by bringing the mood of the room down they still do so. It is important to keep your composure around these students because if you crack, they will immediately know that they have won. Give yourself some time away from the student who brings you down and return with a positive attitude.
11) Set clear rules & consequences
All teachers need to set very strict rules at the beginning of the school year. If you expect your students to follow these rules, they must be crystal clear. Place the list of rules in a highly visible area (such as on the blackboard or overhead projector) and underline any rule that is broken more than once with a different colored marker. Then tell them what will happen if they break this rule. Be sure to follow through on these consequences every time a rule is broken, otherwise, students will realize that it is not a big deal to break them.
12) Don’t take “No” for an answer
In some cases, you will find yourself in a position where your student doesn’t want to do what you have asked of him or her. This may be because the work is too difficult, or they just don’t feel like doing it. In situations such as these, try not to allow your students to get away with anything less than 100% of their effort. If necessary, explain that you will not accept anything less and give them time to finish up at recess or after school (if this is possible).
13) Use active body language
Teachers who use a lot of passive body language (such as ones that fold their arms or lean on the desk), appear less authoritative and confident than teachers who keep their hands visible. To look more dominant, it is best to spread your arms out wide with your palms facing up. This will make you appear more willing to listen and less likely to engage in a power struggle with your students.
14) Don’t allow yourself to get distracted
Teachers need to keep their eyes focused on the class at all times, but this is especially true if they have just lost control of the room. When a teacher is busy doing something else, this allows students to create mischief. Even something as small as helping a student who is not in your class can be just enough for your students to get away with misbehaving. Stay vigilant at all times.
15) Keep your eyes on the student instead of yourself during behavior disruptions
When having trouble containing disruptive behavior in the class, teachers often make the mistake of looking down at their desks or into a book for information. While you may be tempted to do this to avoid confrontation, you must keep your eyes on your student, so they know that you are still in control.
16) Do not take a “time out”
Teachers who are struggling with student management are often tempted to take a time out to regain composure. While this may work for adults, children do not respond well when teachers retreat into their offices. A much better alternative is to keep your eyes on the student while you continue talking in a calm voice, “You can’t hit! I am going to need you to stop. I’m going to need your help; can you give me a minute?”
17) Stay calm no matter what they say
Often disruptive students will try their best to break down the authority that teachers have over them by saying mean or hurtful things. Teachers who are quick to retaliate with anger only worsen the situation and will most likely cause the bad behavior to continue. It is therefore important for teachers to remain calm and completely ignore any remarks that may be made towards them.
18) Change your tone of voice when you address other students
If there are misbehaving students in your classroom, it should be easy to tell by the tone of voice which children are doing what. Teachers who don’t want to single anyone student out should change their tone of voice accordingly when addressing the other students in the class. For example, a teacher who says ” Raise your hand if you think that was a good idea,” while speaking in a normal tone to another group of students means completely different things to each group.
19) Praise students when appropriate
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to acknowledge something that a student has done well, do not neglect to praise them. If the right opportunity presents itself, tell the student what they did was great and give them a high five or clap along with them. Not only will this encourage good behavior, but it will also put a smile on your face even if you’re feeling stressed.
Since teachers are constantly expected to do more with less, it can be difficult to keep a classroom under control. The strategies we’ve provided here should help you take back and maintain control over your classroom by considering how human behavior affects what happens in the room. To recap: – Keep your eyes on students at all times – don’t leave yourself vulnerable for distractions or misbehavior – change the tone of voice when addressing other students instead of singling out one misbehaving student – praise good behaviors as often as possible, even if only silently from across the room!