I am a first year teacher I have really struggled with classroom management this year. It is very hard to get my kids to be quiet and they often whisper while I'm trying to teach. I do stop and address the whispering/often giving a consequence. However, I don't think I've been as consistent as I need to be this year. The kids saw me as a bit of a pushover. I am teaching the same grade next year (5th) and am worried about having the same struggles.
Any suggestions? Is this common? Can a teacher improve in classroom management?
I believe that it does get easier with experience. i am sure that you have heard it before but "Be firm, fair and consistant" really is key to good classroom management.
Having the students help determine the classroom rules and consequences also gives them ownership. At this age being embarrassed is a big deal so I would tackle major issues one on one rahter than in front of the class. By this I mean, writing the student a note or talking to him or her at quietly at your desk. I haven't taught 5th but I have taught 4th and 6th-8th. Good luck next year!
It can take awhile to find your classroom management style. Yes, it can be something that you improve, but it can take a lot of work.
I tried a few different kinds of things beore I found a style that worked for me. I use Randy Sprick's CHAMPs program. It forced me to sit down and actually think about how I wanted everything to run in my classroom. Then I had to teach it to the students. It seems like it take a long time to do it, but it saves so much time in the long run. It also helps keep me and the kids consistent. I never have to be worried about being "touchy" one day and being a pushover the next. And the kids never have to press the boundaried to see what I'll put up with on any given day. We all know the procedures.
The book is very user-friendly, too.
I also think that Fred Jones' Tools for Teaching and Harry Wong's The First Days of School have some good management techniques in them. You can probably find them cheap on eBay, and I've seen them at Half Price Books, too.
I definitely think classroom management changes the longer you teach. I have been teaching for 5 years, 3 in K and 2 in 1st, and I think I've finally figured out my style of management. It really comes down to the classroom climate you want to create and the way you want to respond to the children/how you want the children to respond to you. I spend a lot of time teaching and practicing my expectations, and I had to commit to dedicating time to working through discipline issues or conflicts. My advice is to look into some different styles of classroom management and try some out. In time, you will find something that works well for you and your students. An important thing to remember is to use the conflicts/issues as a teachable moment for appropriate, productive behavior and social relationships. It's not enough to punish and move on.
I just finished my 24th year teaching. As far as classroom management, I think it was my worst year ever. I usually don't have problems with classroom management - the occasional student, but not the whole class. This year was a whole different story. Half of the class had VERY strong negative personalities. It was a very difficult year. Next year should be much better according to the first grade teachers.
Without a doubt, the best thing I ever did for classroom management was go to a Whole Brain Teaching workshop. If one is not available near you, you can google WBT and they offer TONS of tutorial videos online for you to use. My DH is also a teacher (high school) and we both use it. It works for any grade level with a little adaptation here and there.
Go easy on yourself. It was your first year and a learning experience. Read up and use what works for you. The key in any management system is to be consistent and that is tough, but you will do better with time.
the most difficult thing I struggle with as a teacher. Classroom control has taken 60% of my time and energy for the last 13 years. I can only count 3 years out of the 13 that I feel that I really got to teach the kids something. The other 10 years were what I feel were wasted years. I have encountered some of the most disturbing behavior problems since I've been in the classroom. And I'm shocked and depressed that the educational system in my community just accepts this as "just the way it is."
When I point out to administrators that if I'm constantly redirecting behavior, then that takes away from my teaching time, I just get blank stares as if they have never considered this before.
This constant refusal of administration to admit that this effects our scores is the reason I'm getting out of teaching. I'm giving it 3 more years just to get my retirement, then I'm walking out and not looking back.
I just completed my 6th year teaching 5th grade. It can be a tricky age. They are still young enough to like school (for the most part), but they are moving into puberty and dealing with finding their place socially.
I have found what works best for me in the area of classroom management is to be consistent and persistent! One strategy I use is waiting. If I hear talking I just stop what I am doing and wait (looking at the talkers). I find one they notice what I am doing, they stop. OR the other students that ARE paying attention start getting annoyed with the talkers and add a little positive peer pressure by telling them to stop so I don't have to. I like this because it keeps me from having to waste energy on the situation.
Another strategy I use is isolating the biggest offenders. I ususally end up with 1-3 kids depending on the class that can't function well sitting in groups. I move their desk away from the others and find this beneficial for the student, their classmates and me! I usually give it a week or two, maybe a whole marking period and then to reincorporate them into a different group.
Remember teaching is an art, not a science. Every student and every class is different. Experiment and find out what is successful for you during a given year. Then be prepared to do it all different the next year! Good luck, and don't give up.
Behavior management is always hard. Some years harder than others. I teach lower primary so different issues. Experience does bring 'wisdom'. By now you know who the master teachers are on your campus. Ask their advice. Listen to everything and take what you can use. My fellow teachers and I work together to solve problems, academic and behavior. I believe a fresh eye is helpful. I like Tom Daly's Seven Days To A Perfect Classroom. Also like his stuff on ADHD. Might not be exact title but you could google him. I also love Dr. Laura Riffel (?), behavior doctor. Google her. I don't have time to reinvent the wheel but I sure have time to read and use the experts' advice.
And yes! I hope I am always improving. Good luck next year. Enjoy the summer and remember to be confident and consistent and calm.