Posted by Stevan K| November 22, 2019
Beginning a new teaching role can be challenging, especially if this is your first year in the classroom. The good news is that there are many classroom management and timesaving tools for teachers you can use to help you be more effective. Here are some helpful tips to help you be the best teacher you can be, plus some important classroom time management tools you need to know about.
Before you begin teaching, try to get everyone's attention. You need to take charge before beginning your lesson and ensure that your students know that they need to respect the classroom setting. Try not to shout at your students or make threats. Simply take a position at the front of the classroom and begin talking about your morning. You can start a conversation about your commute, the weather, or a recent movie. Once everyone's eyes are on you and all your students are in their seats, you can begin.
Whether you are teaching a kindergarten class or high school, there will be disruptive students. Students may be distracted with items on their desk or have conversations when you need their attention. If this happens, pause what you were teaching and make eye contact with them. As you begin teaching again, walk toward the problem area and stop near their seats while you are still speaking. With you so near to them, they will feel uncomfortable with disrupting the class and will redirect their attention toward you. You can also single them out in a polite way by calling on their name and asking a direct question about something you were teaching about. Hearing their name will snap their attention back to the class activity without embarrassing them.
Another important tip for new teachers is to use your normal voice. You may have the tendency to speak above normal volume so that everyone can hear you. However, raising your voice is not the best approach as it will cause stress on your vocal cords and sound like you are shouting. Be sure to use a declarative tone if you are asking students to perform a specific action such as to put away their notes and get into their groups. If you want to ask a question about something the class just learned, use an inviting, conversational tone.
Near the end of your day, your voice may be tired, and your energy levels may be lower. So, when you need to quiet down the class and get your students’ attention, the last thing you want to do is raise your voice or repeat yourself when asking questions. Instead, make use of hand signals and other forms of nonverbal communication. A classic example is to flick the lights off and on once to get their attention. If you establish this as your signal to encourage the class to quiet down when they are extra rowdy, they will immediately respond when this happens in the future. If you have younger students, you can clap your hands three times and teach the children to clap back. This is a fun and effective way to redirect their focus on you.
The most important tip to keeping your students’ attention and keep them engaged is to design your lesson carefully. Always have a plan for how each classroom session will go. Have some backup activities on-hand in case there is a situation like indoor recess due to inclement weather. Bored students mean trouble, so if you have a poor lesson plan, they will be too tempted to talk to each other and fiddle around while you are speaking.
If you enjoyed these helpful tips for keeping your students’ attention and establishing a positive learning environment, there are many tools that can help you form creative and impactful lessons. TIMESAVERS for TEACHERS provides quality tools to help teachers with time management. Visit our web site to learn more about tools like our Quick Lesson Ideas and the Teacher’s Binder, or to download effective templates for your specific needs!