By Adjunct Faculty Member Dr. Sean Yisrael
Classroom management is undoubtedly the area that causes new teachers the most stress and anxiety. It is also the problem area that prevents many experienced teachers from delivering the best education possible to students. Classroom management issues are intensified for teachers who teach in urban-public school districts. I say this because the dynamics of the urban-public school landscape is extremely hard to contend with for most teachers, regardless of their years of experience.
For example, most urban-public school districts have a very high concentration of students who come from poor and/or low socio-economic families. These families (and the students thereof) are as diverse as the neighborhoods which they come from. In these neighborhoods, there are high concentrations of crime, gang violence, drugs, teenage pregnancy, domestic and child abuse, unemployment, child neglect, untreated mental illness, and single parent households. These types of environmental attributes make living in such communities tough to say the least. This affects a school’s environment because not only do students bring their family’s social baggage to school with them, but they also bring many of their community’s issues as well – making it extremely difficult to organize and manage a classroom smoothly.
Classroom management is about more than dealing with adverse behaviors from students; it’s involves planning and organizing all of the events and activities within the classroom to create fruitful learning experiences in a safe and conducive environment. Most things that happen in a teacher’s classroom are cyclical and interrelated. Students can’t learn if they’re not well behaved. Students will not behave if the teacher is unorganized and ill-prepared; and so on and so on.
It doesn’t matter if a teacher is a novice or a veteran; he or she can have success and manage the classroom on the first day. The following are five easy steps for achieving effective classroom management:
- Learn what students’ lives are like outside of school.
- Keep the expectations high.
- Establish and enforce routines and practices.
- Make connections with parents.
- Create interesting and engaging lessons.
The aforementioned strategies are beneficial to all teachers, no matter the school setting they’re working in. They will help teachers to establish and maintain order in their classrooms, and aide in effectively dealing with the most challenging student behaviors. As teachers improve their classroom management skills, they will be more equipped at delivering a better quality of education to students.