Nope. It’s not some formulated question and response plan.
No. It isn’t a book.
Nada. It doesn’t require a note or phone call home, or even calling in help.
My number one strategy: move my desk to the back of the classroom. Simple, yet effective.
- I can see every little thing that happens from the back of the room. Seriously. I don’t have to wonder what just transpired between Jason and Sabrina. I can see it. I easily see who is working and who is not. I don’t have to guess.
- I can offer some privacy to students while I conference with them one-on-one. Trust me, no kid ever wants to walk to the front of the room to talk to the teacher. Ever. Also, I can really work with a kid who is struggling and still keep an eye on the rest of the class.
- Students have a more difficult time quitting before the end of class. You know exactly what I mean. The clock still has ten minutes of class ticking away. You have graciously given them extra time to work on that essay. Someone decides it’s time to quit and starts packing up. Oh, no, you din’t! I can see Rachel as she starts to tuck away notes into her notebook inside the desk. I know exactly what is going on here. I can easily address the student and quickly get her back on task.
- Building relationships is a whole lot easier for the introverts of the class at the back of the room. There is a shield of privacy when everyone’s back is turned. I get this. It’s also much easier for students to ask for help.
- Where do the trouble-makers sit? You already know the answer to this. When my desk is in the back of the room, they are sitting right in front of me. Proximity is the best!
I do have a teaching table / area at the front of the room. It is difficult to maintain their attention if I am teaching from the back. It just doesn’t work. Although, I have been known to change it up a time or two. My dream is to move desks around and change up seating every now and then.
I wish I could say I was brilliant enough to come up with this on my own, but I can’t. I learned this strategy at a week-long Boys’ Town classroom management training. This one take-away from the training (there were tons more, by the way) became the biggest game changer for my classroom management. I teach at an institutional school for kids in treatment (mostly for addictions). Think of it like an alternative school on steroids. I cannot count the number of times having my desk in the back of the room has saved my sanity. And to be honest, it raises the level of student accountability – which I love.
I don’t want to be the grouchy, mean teacher (she sometimes shows up) all the time. I have been freed from that role just by moving a piece of furniture. Genius.
What are some of your best classroom management tips? Comment below.