Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a well-behaved class always? Having good relationships with your students could eliminate 90% of the issues, but there will still be the 10% that requires classroom management.
As a new teacher who is starting out or if you are switching grades, you will need a classroom management plan. Perhaps you already have a plan, but it’s not working that well, then you need ideas how to adapt it to an effective classroom management plan.
Effectively managing a classroom is one of the most significant challenges all teachers face. Usually, it’s the experience learned through past mistakes, hindsight of what worked and what needs improvement that develops a good management plan.
What Is A Classroom Management Plan?
A classroom management plan is a document with ground rules and strategies for teachers when students misbehave and break those rules. It is a prevention tool. If students know what the rules are and the consequences if they disobey, unnecessary, disruptive behavior can be avoided.
A plan that works becomes a tool that helps establish a pleasant environment to teach and for students to learn. Although based on rules and procedures, it creates a safe atmosphere where students can flourish.
It removes confrontation, intimidation, and other harmful methods. An effective plan in action teaches the students to be accountable for their behavior. That they are responsible for listening and learning what the teacher teaches, and that misbehavior robs them of their chances of improvement.
How To Write A Classroom Management Plan
Philosophy of Classroom
To write a classroom management plan the teacher needs to know what their philosophy of classroom management is. In other words, what do you believe as a teacher
- about your students,
- your role as a teacher,
- the physical and emotional environment, and
- managing the classroom?
Creating a philosophy of motivation will help the teacher determine what it is they want and don’t want in the classroom, how to explain it to the students, how to reward appropriate behavior, and how to handle an unexpected development.
Having defined the philosophy will help write the rest of the plan in clear, understandable language. Organizing thoughts on paper enables the teacher to implement the program effectively and set clear goals.
Rules and Consequences
Start by making a list of all possible disruptions and misbehaviors that can occur in the classroom. Use the list to create a set of rules. Before you define the rules and the consequences, familiarize yourself with the school district’s policies and procedures concerning classroom management. Use it as the basis of your plan and incorporate your rules and values. The rules will make sense to the students if clearly defined in association with the transgression.
Then simplify the rules into a few basic rules that are easily understood by students. Simple rules can incorporate many aspects without different interpretations by students and teachers. According to Michael Linsin, four basic rules include most controls:
- Listen and follow directions.
- Raise your hands before you speak or leaving your seat.
- Keep your hands and feet to yourself.
- Respect your teacher and classmates.
Decide what kind of motivation and reward system you want to use. What the consequences will be if the child breaks the rules. Linsin recommends three consequences, warning, time-out, and a letter home.
Teaching Style for the Classroom Management Plan
Each teacher has their specific styles of teaching. The classroom management plan should fit into that style. Before you write your management plan, decide what kind of teaching style suits you best:
- Students work individually on their tasks.
- Pupils collaborate and work in pairs instead of individually.
- Students exchange information with different partners.
- The teacher talks and the student respond silently.
- Use open-ended questions, to allow more students to respond with possible answers.
- Student work autonomously.
Teach the Classroom Management Plan
For students to behave appropriately, they need to understand what is expected of them. It is therefore essential to teach the classroom management plan like you would teach a lesson. Only reciting aloud the rules and consequences will be as ineffective as reading the lesson for the day.
After explaining what the rules and consequences are, the teacher needs to demonstrate it. Demonstrate from the teacher and the student’s point of view. For example, sit at the student’s desk and show them how to raise their hands.
Then let the students demonstrate the behavior to show that they understand what is expected of them.
It isn’t necessary to teach all the rules on the first day of the school year. You want to spend time with them that first day to get to know each other and let them become excited for the year.
Reinforcing the classroom management plan throughout the year is essential. Remind the students regularly and be predictable when enforcing the program.
When students misbehave, don’t take it personally. Implement the consequences in an impersonal but fair manner.
What Should A Classroom Management Plan Include?
Classroom management plans differ for age groups and teaching styles, but there are certain elements most plans contain.
As mentioned above, it is so much easier to create a plan if you know what your classroom philosophy is. The management plan will almost write itself with a written philosophy.
Included in the philosophy are the mission and vision you, as a teacher, have for teaching the students.
Organized Classroom Setup
A well-organized classroom setup helps to manage the classroom effectively. Have the classroom ready for the first day of school. It helps to run the class smoothly if the students understand the routines and procedures from the first day. A few ideas to include in the plan:
- Label everything to eliminate unnecessary questions where items are or if they can use it.
- Decide the procedure for getting classroom supplies, sharpening pencils and other items that students need but could to avoid unnecessary disruptions.
- Have an area to turn in their homework as part of their morning routine.
- Mark individual areas close to the door where students can put their belongings. Use crates if there’s no cupboards or lockers available.
- Take home folders for notes, letters and permission slips. A small table containing these items close to the door will remind students.
- Seating arrangements help create atmosphere. Decide what is practical and complies with school administration preferences. Assign seats the first day and re-arrange within the begining few days.
- Check the classroom for safety hazards and remove anything that is unnecessary.
- Allocate a time-out desk or area. The main idea is to separate the rulebreaker from the rest of the class but still enable the student to listen to the lesson.
A good classroom setup creates a warm and safe environment. Carefully plan where and how to place and position displays, student desks, equipment, and storage. Create a safe environment for students to learn, to practice, to fail, and to try again. An enthusiastic, friendly, happy atmosphere will encourage students to do their best.
Consistent Routines and Schedules
Routines help classrooms run smoothly. To be effective, the teacher must be regular in enforcing the routines and schedules. To expect students to behave in a certain way, the teacher needs to shape the behavior. For example, if the teacher wants students to be on time, the teacher needs to model it by being on time and not going overtime with lessons.
A daily schedule will eliminate unnecessary surprises and helps students to stick to the routines. Morning routines start the moment the child enters the classroom. Establish what is expected from the student. Do they hand in their homework, sit down and start working or do they wait for you to start the class?
Include routines for going to the bathroom, requesting classroom supplies, turning in passing back homework papers to other students.
Be firm with due dates. Then students will know what will happen if they are late with assignments or homework.
Include time for students to change classrooms and to settle down before the lesson starts.
Mid-Year Classroom Management Plan
Taking over from another teacher mid-year is taxing to the new teacher and the students. Loyalty toward their former teacher may cause an emotional upheaval when a new teacher takes over. It is stressful for the new teacher and the students and often creates anxiety.
Having a written management plan will minimize the stress, confusion, and anxiety from both parties. Some ideas to include in your program are:
- Introduction letter to the parents will initiate relationships with the parents. In the message introduce yourself and provide your details for parents to contact you with questions and concerns.
- Use photos, name tags or games to enable you to identify the students by name.
- It may be mid-year, but to you and the class, it is a new beginning. Treat it that way. Start the first day with these students as if it is the beginning of the year.
- Be friendly but take authority from the first moment.
- Take time to get to know the students and let them get to know you. Use games or interviews to alleviate being the stranger. Negative emotions will ease when they get to know you.
- As they feel less threatened, you can introduce your ideas and methods gradually.
In addition to having rules and consequences, have a reward system in place when students achieve a goal. Find out what motivates each student. It may be learning new things or doing well in a test or overcoming shyness to participate.
Encourage students by helping them set achievable goals that will motivate them to try their best. Use a safe classroom environment for them to practice new skills. For example, if a student is interested in writing or public speaking, give them opportunities in class to hone these skills.
The best classroom management plan needs to make room for the inevitable. Be flexible when something outside the norm occurs.
What elements do you think are the most important to include in a classroom management plan?