Here are several ideas that you may want to try using in your own classroom.

They have made my life easier, and I am sure they will do the same for you as well! One of the best things you can do as a teacher is “arm” yourself with knowledge that will help you show your students how to get better grades, improve your classroom management skills, teach you how to prevent and deal with behavior problems, and help you plan lessons more effectively.

Have a look at the rest of the suggestions below: 

1.   Create an atmosphere of mutual respect – coach a team, support an activity, lead a club, get involved with students in your school, show them that you care about things that they care about. 

2.   Have a sense of humor – it really makes a big difference for you and the students! Smile and interact with students… yes, even when some students challenge you. 

3.    Plan effective lessons – Make your lessons interesting, meaningful, and have them connect to personal experiences of students in your class. Help them link what you teach to what they already know. It will make learning and understanding happen, and students are likely to look forward to what you are going to do and say next! 

4.   Communicate with parents regularly – keep in mind that it is all about helping the student grow and learn. During interviews and contacts with parents, avoid unnecessary criticism and choose your words carefully. Point out what they can do before you tell them what they can’t.

5.   Offer praise – look for evidence of success and positive, constructive behavior…acknowledge it and praise it. Give out certificates, impromptu parties, brag about students, etc.

6.   Incorporate hands-on activities – also use multimedia, show relevant films and videos that increase understanding of the curriculum. Note that even the book you’re reading makes use of the latest technology so students have visual, auditory and kinesthetic (hands-on) strategies.

7.   Make handouts and tests visually attractive – it maintains interest and sends a message that you care.

8.   Keep your classroom, including own desk, clean, uncluttered and well organized. This will promote a similar organizational mindset among the students. Clean and organized classroom makes students feel you are in control and know what you are doing.

9.   Exude confidence – in your body language, when you speak, and make discipline decisions etc., hesitant teachers invite behavior issues and possibly disrespect.

10.    Plan a clear and effective discipline policy – before the first day of classes! This will help you know exactly what to do when things don’t go the way you expect them to go. It will help avoid frustration and make quick and decisive decisions about behavior problems in the classroom. Present yourself as someone who handles classroom situations promptly and fairly.

11.    Discuss your discipline policy and plans with administration – this will avoid unwanted surprises and give you appropriate support when you need it.

12.   Take courses, buy resources, and go to conferences that teach you effective classroom management skills. This was always a priority for me, and I believe that it should also be in the plans of most other educators.

13.    Use summer vacation to rest, but also prepare for the upcoming school year. Take courses, read professional material, plan future lessons and units, reflect on the previous year, plan improvements to your program, and organize yourself for the following academic year. This will give you a good start and the needed confidence for months to come.

14.    Seek advice, share resources, and team up with other teachers to find ways to save time in the classroom. Sharing units, lessons plans, and receiving tips and advice, always help save time.

15.    Make yourself available after classes or after school to assist students, answer questions, clarify, and encourage. Regularly remind and invite after-school visits, as some students may be a bit shy to ask questions in class. 

Stevan Krajnjan, B.A. B.Ed, OCT is author and founder of TimeSaversForTeachers.com and TeacherReportCardComments.com.

Krajnjan received the Exceptional Teacher Award by The Learning Disabilities Association of Mississauga and North Peel in recognition for outstanding work with children who have learning disabilities. He was also inducted into the sports hall of fame in the city of Brampton and lives in Canada.

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