Let’s face it: managing a classroom – no matter how old your students are – is overwhelming. But when your students are in middle school?
Well, that’s where the rodeo really begins, because classroom management does not get harder than it does when pre-teens are bebopping around.
If the school year has started and you’re already feeling this way as a middle school teacher, you are in luck! Continue reading for three tips you can use to manage your rowdy room.
1. Voice Control
Yes, you read that right – controlling your voice will help to control your middle school students. How does this work?
Well, a teacher’s voice has got to be the most powerful tool they have. They use their voice to convey information, manage behavior, direct discipline, and as a way of promoting student engagement in the classroom.
However, when used the wrong way, a teacher’s voice can cause students to desire acting out, thus the emerging of your unmanaged classroom. So, when everything feels like it’s going downhill, don’t yell.
Instead, whisper in behavior management situations and a quiet voice when you’d like a student to do something they maybe haven’t completed yet. Yelling only increases children’s anxiety and will drive them away.
2. Establish, Encourage, and Maintain Positivity
Middle school students, although tiresome to teachers, do not deserve to walk into a negative space first thing in the morning. Even if you’re not their first teacher of the day, establishing, encouraging, and maintaining positivity is key.
When you establish your classroom as a positive place, you are saying to your students, “This is a room of love, light, laughter, and learning”.
And that’s what they deserve to feel in any classroom. But laying the groundwork by affirming your classroom as a positive place makes the encouraging and maintaining much easier for you and your students!
Additionally, when school-aged children are in any classroom where they feel happy and loved, a sense of belonging begins to develop.
When this happens, it’s considered part of the SEL curriculum middle school. SEL, also known as social-emotional learning, refers to helping students better understand and tolerate their feelings while practicing empathy.
3. Say Sorry – And Mean It
Too often, children’s feelings are hurt by something their teacher has said. Certainly, this is not the teacher you are or want to be, but it’s possible that on your toughest day, some cruel words slip.
If this happens, say sorry – and mean it.
When a child’s feelings are hurt by something their teacher said, it’s likely that the teacher knows what they did. But the difference between you and this figurative teacher is that they didn’t apologize.
While this seems relatively small and like it doesn’t mean anything, saying sorry (especially as a teacher of middle school students) has big-time benefits, like:
- Showing your students you care
- Setting a healthy example for your students in times where they need to apologize to someone
- Embracing and displaying your vulnerability, which in turn helps your students become more vulnerable
- Building of relationships and connections
- Developing a mindset of growth, optimism, and truthfulness
So, if you’re in the wrong, apologize! Whether your middle school students recognize that you’re in the wrong or not, when you own up to your actions, they will see how your honesty and vulnerability make you shine.
Managing Middle School Isn’t Easy
Teaching has never been an easy job. But with the free-flowing, independent energy that practically comes ingrained in a middle school student, the job can get even more difficult.
But this doesn’t mean you have to let the difficulty rule.
By practicing voice control, apologizing when you know you should, and maintaining a positive classroom space, you are on your way to managing middle school!
Now that you’ve learned about these three classroom management tips, will you take on the challenge of implementing them? The choice is yours to make, but will benefit you greatly in the future!
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