Classrooms play an important roll in a student’s life, but they are also important to the teachers. A messy, disorganized classroom can leave a teacher feeling frazzled and confused when she can’t find what she’s looking for. The same can be said for the students. If they can’t find something they need for their assignments, they won’t be able to complete their work. A teacher who can’t find an answer key on her desk covered in papers will leave her students unsupervised while she frantically searches for that key.
If you want to create a classroom for success, you can try using the tips below to help you out. You could also try Beyond Compliance, an online class on classroom management.
Use a Seating Arrangement
It might seem something very elementary to those of you teaching higher grades, but a seating arrangement will help you keep better track of your students and who works well together. You can use PowerPoint to create a seating chart. Try this PowerPoint class for teachers to learn great tips for using it in the classroom. When setting up your desks, it is very important that you have room to walk around them. Dr. Fred Jones encourages teachers to find the zones of proximity in the classroom. The zone closest to you is the zone where students will behave because they know you’re watching. You will want to figure out who is going to cause the most disruption in the class and set them in that zone. The zone just beyond that is the zone where students will goof off unless you are looking in their direction. This zone can be a mix of kids who like to disrupt and kids who don’t. Just remember it is important to keep students away from their friends in the classroom too because they will talk. The zone farthest from you is the zone where most of the goofing off will occur.
The best idea is to set up an arrangement with the desks that will create the least amount of “goof off” zone. You will want to clear a path for yourself so you can easily walk around the desks, and you will want to bring the desks as close to the boards at the front so you can write and talk to them at the same time with the least bit of goofing off. Try to avoid using your teacher’s desk as much as possible. Most teachers will shove the desk in a corner or at the back of the room. They use it as an area for students to place their finished assignments on or to set other things on. Dr. Jones has more tips on setting up an effective room arrangement so be sure to check them out. If you are interested in using PowerPoint for your seating chart, you can try the templates available through Microsoft Office. You can also use the comments in PowerPoint to keep important notes on specific students so you know who not to put with who.
Don’t Try to Reinvent the Wheel
There have been plenty of teachers before you who have gone through the same issues as far as classroom management and creating a classroom for success. Do not try to be that teacher that ignores all the books and advice. These are tried and true methods of teachers who came before you and spent countless years trying one method after another. Use their experience to your advantage; there are a lot of methods out there, and you don’t know what method will work for your students and your classroom until you try it. Perhaps you want to rearrange the desks to use Dr. Jones advice about zones of proximity, but perhaps your school does not allow for rearrangement of furniture. You will have to find another method to use, and there is no reason for you to create a whole new method all on your own. You can even take a class on classroom management.
The same can be said for everything you do in your classroom. You will learn quickly that when it comes to teaching, you will end up sharing ideas and tricks with your coworkers. Perhaps you found a great lesson plan dealing with Dr. Seuss and rhyming words online. They post those lessons online for people to use, and the same can be done with lesson plans you design. There are a great many sites out there that you can use to share your lesson plans, bulletin boards, and classroom seating arrangements. One great site for that is Pinterest.
Use Your Time Wisely, and Teach Your Students How To Do the Same
Everyone knows that time seems to pass by faster and faster as you get older, and it’s important to know just how to manage that time. If you need some extra help learning how to manage time wisely, you can try this time management course for students. Being a teacher does not mean you are done learning, and you can pass on this important information to your students. If you have elementary grades, you can easily use your lesson planning skills to make the information easier for them to grasp.
One Last Thing
Just remember that not every idea will work, and an idea that worked for one classroom might not work for the next. If you set up your desks in a specific arrangement and find that students are still goofing off, you might want to try a different arrangement, or you can take some time to watch your students and see who talks to who. You can then write these notes down on your seating arrangement and separate those students that encourage each other to mess around. If you happen to be one of those lucky teachers that gets a perfect class your first year, congratulations! Consider yourself blessed, but never assume that because this year’s class behaved, the same will happen next year. You can check out this article by Science & Children for more tips and tricks on managing your classroom for success.