Teacher Back-to-School Success Secrets Improve Classroom Management

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

Teacher Back-to-School Success Secrets
Improve Classroom Management

 
 

classroom management workshopIt's a new school year, but for many students back-to-school means back to problems. It can seem like such a mystery why so many of today's kids struggle so much each school year, but perhaps we've overlooked a common sense explanation and solution.

It's that time of year when I hit the road all over North America training school after school on  how to build a better school year. I'm Youth Change Professional Development Workshops' Director and Trainer, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. I spend a lot of time at each stop sharing all the classroom management secrets I've collected over the past decades. In our high tech era, I also provide online training, as pictured in the image above. After years of providing teacher training in a huge range of formats and venues, I know that these techniques can really stop classroom management problems before they start– and isn't that what every teacher wants?

So, have you ever noticed that we don't actually teach kids to be students? It's true. While every school district has a formal, written-down plan to teach kids academics, few districts have a formal, written-down plan to teach kids how to be students and take advantage of all the great academics they are offered.

Perhaps we need to teach kids to be students exactly the same way we teach them how to read, learn math, and master social studies. Teaching kids how to be students is very different than stating the rules. Most teachers review the rules, but many instructors don't ensure that their new students have the skills, attitudes, and motivation needed to properly comply.

In our live and online Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshops that Youth Change hosts, I often joke that in a time long ago, and a place far away, moms and dads reliably motivated their offspring, and prepared them to be successful students. Continuing the theme, I note that time and place are gone, and they aren't coming back any time soon. Sadly, many of today's families don't motivate their children to care about school, and don't teach them the skills needed to succeed as students. If the family doesn't prepare the child to succeed in school, by default, that task must become the job of the teacher if the family can't or won't start doing what they are supposed to do.
 

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We would never throw a child in the deep end of the pool and expect him to teach himself how to swim. We would never put a child up on the expert ski slope and expect her to teach herself how to ski. But, we do place children in school each year and expect them to teach themselves how to be students. That is why so many teachers work with kids that don't look, act or sound like students. That is why so many teachers struggle with unmotivated, uninterested youngsters, and have an uphill battle to maintain good classroom management and control. Teachers are working with untrained, unmotivated children and youth. It should be no surprise that from Day 1 of the new school year, so many children struggle.

Districts that take the time to train youngsters how to look, act and sound like students usually report a drop in attendance problems, tardiness, absences, and behavior problems. Many report a decrease in expulsions, suspensions and detention. Most report wasting less instruction time than the national average of 22 minutes per hour lost to behavior management problems. But those results make perfect sense and should be expected. Training kids to be students can only yield improvement, and probably has no significant downside. Training kids to be students should begin in Pre-K and every year after. Training kids to be students may be the only common sense, real-world way to build a better school year.

If you do decide to teach your new students how to be prepared for the job they face over the new school year, there is a lot to cover. So where do you start on Day 1 of the new school year? We recommend safety and attendance issues come first, then follow up by teaching the remaining skills your new students need. The subsequent skill training should include a lot of motivation-building. Your youngsters might look, act and sound completely different if they come to believe that school is more important than the air they breathe. But don't forget to ultimately include other key school skill training areas such as adult interaction skills, peer interaction skills, how to be in a class discussion, homework management skills, punctuality skills, and so on. For this back-to-school issue, here are several sample strategies that address an assortment of critical school skills your students will be needing this year.
 

Successful Back-to School

Classroom Management Techniques to Use Now
 

New School Year Resolutions

Some students start off the new school year chock full of negative expectations. Stop the negativity now by hosting a Happy New School Year Party that is similar to a Happy New Year Party. It's tough to stay negative and sour at a party. During the party, have each student make New School Year Resolutions listing what they hope to accomplish during the school year. This approach can really defuse some of the negativity because school is not fitting these students' bleak view.

Banker, Not Teacher

Because students who graduate earn $329,000 more than those who drop out, you may want to tell the class that they should refer to you as a banker, not a teacher. Or, use this line: "A diploma is so valuable that it belongs in your wallet." A great follow-up activity is to ask your students to speculate on what they would do with an extra $329,000. Another follow-up: Have students rename your school to be a bank, so Sixteen Acres Elementary School could become The First Bank of Sixteen Acres or Sixteen Acres Elementary Savings Bank and Loan.

Give Me Five

classroom management posterTeach essential paying attention skills to students by playing Give Me Five. Have the student give you a high five slap then say "Give me five! Two eyes watching, two ears listening, one mouth shut. Give me five!" Our $8 Poster #252 can provide on-going reminders, and for a limited time, it's on sale for 25% off on our site when you enter 25 at checkout.

From Vacation Back to Education

Students don't necessarily have the skills to settle themselves back into the routine of school, but sometimes we assume youngsters can make the big leap on their own, or that they will get help from their parents. Unfortunately, many students will struggle to make the transition, and many of these youngsters won't have parental support, so don't assume that all students will be able to fit back in to the routines and responsibilities of school. Help students let go of summer break and become ready for more structure and responsibility. To aid in the transition, assist students to understand the specific differences they're about to face. Distribute pieces of poster board, about 8 x 11 inches in size. Ask the students to write on one side of the poster board: Goodbye Summer. On the other side, ask students to write: Hello School. Next, ask students to illustrate each side, then discuss their completed creations, assisting students to identify what they must do to make the "big leap" back to school.

Your Job at School

When discussing your role with your students, consider using this description that one of our workshop participants uses each year: "My job is to get you to do what you don't want to do, so you can become what you do want to become."

Have You Ever Heard of Eating School?

To teach students how to behave in the cafeteria, set up Eating School and practice. Instead of practicing with actual food, select silly substitutes. For example, instead of spaghetti and meatballs, students practice with cut-out pictures of spaghetti strands, sauce and meatballs. Be very careful that students don't put any of the substitute items in their mouths, but do select items that are fun so that students won't even notice that they are actually learning lunch room behavior skills.

Self-Control or Teacher Control

A teacher in Alabama says he has great success telling his students at the start of the school year that he expects them to use good self-control, but if they don't "it will be provided for you." Because he adds a light humorous element to the information, it makes it harder for students to resist. Of course, he also teaches his students exactly how to manage their mouths, feet, hands, arms, legs and so on. Both of these aspects need to be included for this technique to work.

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    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


Stop Yelling at Students: No-Scream Classroom Management Strategies Offer Improved Methods

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

Stop Yelling at Students:
No-Scream Classroom Management Strategies Offer Improved Methods

 

 

K-12 Keynote Speaker Ruth Herman Wells

In our workshops, in our email, and on the phone, we have been hearing the same complaint over and over and over: "I can't scream loud enough and long enough to control my class."

In the nearly 20 years that Youth Change has been a national resource for teachers and counselors with troubled students, we have never been so inundated with inquiries about how to scream louder and longer to get back in control.

My name is Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. O'm the Director of Youth Change Workshops. I'm also the trainer for Youth Change's live and online workshops.

What would you think if your son or daughter's teacher managed by screaming?

You would be appalled and demand the screaming stop. If you are one of the professionals who is screaming at kids, you need to remember that you are screaming at someone's son, someone's daughter.

If you wouldn't want your offspring to be yelled at, then you shouldn't be yelling at someone else's children.

When my daughter Meagan was told by her middle school music teacher that Meg was "a loser" and would be "a failure in high school," I confronted the teacher. The teacher replied "Meagan can take it."

It doesn't matter if students "can take it." Screaming at students is abuse, and abuse can cost you your job, your self-respect, and your career. Even more importantly, no student should have to "take it."

Think about this next sentence: You have no way of knowing if you are screaming at a child who was beaten or incested last night. Now, how do you feel about the screaming?

 


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Yelling is destructive and always inappropriate– unless you are yelling "Go Team" at a football game, or screaming "Stop" because a student is about to run in front of a bus.

Further, yelling is not acceptable in most work settings, and have you ever noticed that when you yell at students, you are using behaviors that you won't permit them to use?

Ultimately, your job is to prepare students for the real work place– and screaming isn't permitted there.

One more point: You have an obligation to report screaming if you hear it. There aren't exceptions given if it will be difficult or uncomfortable to report. Your first obligation is to your students not your comfort.

Finally, yelling doesn't work anyway. With that in mind, please consider these alternatives to screaming:

 

Improve Classroom Management Here
 

Anticipate and Avoid Predictable Problems

Many of the professionals who have been contacting us to say that screaming isn't working, have noted that they are struggling with the same misbehavior over and over and over.

If you know that students predictably struggle in a given area, then use that information to prevent it from repeating endlessly. That is how you would manage a chronic academic concern, and that is how you must manage behavioral problems.

classroom management poster 62Example Strategy:
Instead of continuing to have problems with inappropriate items coming into your site, train  your students on what to bring and wear.

If you use humor, students may actually absorb far more information. A non-confrontational approach will also result in much more success than an antagonistic one.

That is why this type of intervention can succeed when screaming has failed. Here's a very fun intervention to use. Have students name occupations, then list those jobs in a column on the board, Next, have students list items that shouldn't come to work for those particular jobs.

Encourage humorous contributions like a chef bringing worms to work at a restaurant. Now that students are relaxed and at ease, discuss silly items not to bring to your site, and the results that can occur.

Students can make a master list of Items Not to Bring to School. Our Poster #62 provides a visual example if you need ideas to get your group started.
 

Identify, Prioritize Then Teach Missing Skills

You would never yell at a student who lacked math skills. Yelling would not help the youngster gain math skills.

Similarly, yelling at students who lack specific classroom behavior skills will not help youngsters gain those missing skills.

In place of yelling, consider teaching the missing skills.

Where to start? Pick the one problem that interferes the most with your classroom management. Once that skill is mastered, move onto the next missing skill, and so on.

Example Strategy:
Teach students how to properly manage transition times. For example, perhaps students need to rehearse walking into the room without sounding like a herd of buffalo.

Once they can enter "quieter than a herd of buffalo," you can tell them that they've mastered the skill. Next, offer occasional rewards for good transitioning, especially for punctuality and quickly quieting down.

Teachers can give the first five students who are quiet and ready to work, passes to get out of class a few minutes early. A counselor can bring a pack of gum and give the five sticks out to the first five youngsters who are quiet and ready to work.

Be sure to teach the skills before expecting them though, and remember, re-stating the rules isn't teaching skills.

 

The Most Important, Fastest Fix

Teacher and counselor training still tends to be heavily theoretical instead of practical, and still tends to prepare professionals to work with compliant, willing students.

You may find yourself with few compliant and willing, and many non-compliant and unwilling. If your training hasn't given you tools for the non-compliant and unwilling, you need to update your skills to equip you to work with extremely acting-out youngsters, especially conduct disorders.

Until you do, nothing– that's right– nothing will substitute, especially not yelling. Conduct disorders are cagey, manipulative, smart, and devoted to playing you.

When you yell, they feel like they own you, that they are the boss of you. When you yell at conduct disorders, you have made a bad situation far worse.

We get many effusive emails and letters from teachers, vice-principals, counselors, and social workers saying that learning about conduct disorders "opened their eyes," to quote one principal. If you truly want the problems to stop, learn about your most misbehaved students, your conduct disorders.

Two follow-up links are provided in the next paragraph.

Example Strategy:
Conduct disorders care about only one thing. Do you know what it is? If you don't, classroom and group management will remain enormously problematic.

They care about only Me-Me-Me-Me. Every intervention you use with a conduct disorder must center on what the student loses by misbehavior or gains by good behavior.

Do not heed advice that others may give that you should just ignore this most unmanageable of all youngsters. Conduct disorders need you to be their "brakes". When you abandon or can't play that role, that student has all the control of a speeding car with no way to stop.

Yelling at this youngster has the same results as yelling at a speeding car. Upgrading your skills doesn't have to be time-consuming or hard. To upgrade your skills, go to the Blog menu at top and read our two Introductory issues that focus on this youngsters. We can also provide help to youth professionals who contact us at 1.800.545.5736, or you can email us.

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    Reprint or Repost This Article
     

    Bring the Breakthrough Strategies Workshop to Your Site

    Help Unmotivated, Failing, Troubled and Unmanageable Students

    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


    Behavior & Classroom Management Problem-Solver Blog Articles

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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.