If you’re like me, classroom management is sometimes a challenge. Maybe the students are chattier than normal. Maybe you are feeling tired or run down. Maybe you just have a very challenging group, and you have to work extra hard at maintaining structure in the classroom. Whatever the case may be, some days are just plain difficult.
One tough year I particularly remember was when I was teaching first grade. The group of students that year was a handful! I had been doing everything I could to provide a structured classroom environment, maintain a predictable schedule, be consistent in dealing with behaviors, and provide effective learning experiences. Some days, I basically wanted to just sit down, cross my arms, and yell, “I don’t want to do this anymore!”
Throughout my years of teaching, I have learned that having a sense of humor and being patient makes a huge difference in how I feel about things and how my students respond to me. I have found that sometimes doing “nothing” is really doing “something”. Having trouble getting the attention of your students? Students not listening? Here are five things you could try:
- Cross your arms with one hand under your chin and look inquisitively at the ceiling. Eventually your students will stop and wonder what it is you are doing.
- Go to your desk, sit down, and start reading a book. A student is bound to notice, which will cause another to notice, and another, then another etc. It won’t be long before you have every student looking at you.
- Stand where most students can see you, grab a notepad and start writing. While you are writing, shield it and look suspiciously at your students. Students will begin to wonder what you are writing about, and it won’t be long before you have their attention.
- Start doing walking lunges across the classroom. I know this isn’t possible for everyone but you can insert any kind of physical movement for this strategy. Try to make it challenging because we all know that students are going to try it.
- In a loud voice, start singing a really silly song. I have had a lot of fun with this one. One of the songs I use is a silly song my dad used to sing to me. Seeing the students’ reactions are priceless!
These are just a few of the tricks I have up my sleeve for those times I need something different to grab my students’ attention. These strategies help me maintain a positive attitude at times when it’s really difficult to do so. Having a sense of humor helps build relationships with kids too. I hope you find these helpful.