Ultimately, this is every teacher’s goal: to be the one who gets the most Christmas cards, is always greeted with a respectful “Hello!” in the morning, and is gossiped about in a good way outside of school. How does a good teacher do this without losing control of her class and keeping her material stimulating and interesting for her students? Read on.
1. Treat your students like they are older
Don’t speak to them in a babying voice, hold their hand through every step of the way, or assign them tasks far below their level. Students, whether you believe it or not, enjoy a challenging, scintillating class that gets them thinking with a teacher who treats them as if they are mature. Don’t override them with mind-boggling intellectual concepts, but give them respect as if they were your own age.
On Christmas, pass out candy-canes and allow them to do a Secret Santa program. On Halloween, let them go trick-or-treating, using each desk as a house to trick-or-treat at. On Valentine’s Day, pass out heart-shaped chocolates and allow them to bring cards and candy to distribute to everyone. And when your class accomplishes something wonderful together, have a pizza or Popsicle party, depending on the weather. Show your students you guys can have a great time if everyone in the classroom cooperates.
3. Use rewards, not punishment, as motivation
Giving them lunch detention for giggling doesn’t work, whereas telling them that you’ll reward them with extra recess if they don’t giggle too much for an entire week in class is a much better idea. Kids respond to rewards and treats. They rebel against punishment and threats.
4. Give each student special attention
Make it feel like you notice and appreciate every single one of them. Whether it’s a cheery “Hi, you did wonderfully at the Spelling Bee last night!” or a pat on the back when they master a new concept, let each student of yours know that they are valued by you and that you have their back whenever they need you.
5. Have fun when teaching
Make your own game of Jeopardy when your students need to memorize multiplication tables. Let them play “Rock, Paper, Scissors” with different elements to explain how certain elements override others in chemical equations. Distribute candy to take away or add in your addition and subtraction unit. Incorporate fun and games whenever possible, but don’t let it get out of hand!
6. Be powerful
Don’t let them perceive you as a doormat or someone who can be trodden on and ruined. Show patience but make sure they know you will take disciplinary action. Be firm but gentle and tolerant at the same time. Use your position of authority to your advantage, instead of making your students turn away from you.