Managing time in the classroom can be a bit of a challenge, but doing so is important to the flow of your classroom. Here are some classroom management ideas to help you effectively manage time.
Running a Smooth Classroom
Having classroom management strategies in place will help you manage time- right from the get-go. As a teacher, you need to make decisions that will impact how efficiently your classroom runs. From organization to instruction to discipline, everything will impact one big thing- TIME! There are only so many hours in the day. Setting a classroom management plan is essential. Some classroom management techniques to consider:
Where you place your desk, arrangement of student desks, learning centers
How you give directions, student expectations of work
Establishing rules, how you punish poor behavior
Create a Schedule
Depending on the school, you may have a little leeway when it comes to creating a schedule for your class. Time is everything! When you start to consider what takes up time- such as lunch, breaks, recess, etc., you quickly realize you do not have much time left for instruction. Make the most of it. A class time schedule works wonders. First and foremost, your students need to know what is expected of them. Techniques such as a “Do Now”- where the teacher writes a short task for students to complete when pupils enter the classroom- gets them started on their work, and if used consistently, is a great classroom management technique. Having a set schedule (although you can certainly vary it by day of the week or in a block schedule format) creates a positive learning environment, in that you as the teacher will be organized and your students know what is going to happen each day. You may have to tweak your schedule from time to time to benefit your students, but overall, having a set schedule in place will foster a less-stressful, more enjoyable, learning environment.
As teachers, we need to set schedules for ourselves as well. This is important, as it does not take long to feel as if you are buried in paperwork. Creating a system can help manage your time and make you a more effective teacher.
If you are one of the lucky ones and have a teacher's aide, classroom mother, or volunteer in your classroom- use them! Get to know their strengths and weaknesses. They may be great with a small group of children or in dealing with behavioral problems. They are there to help, so make the most of it. If you aren't lucky enough to have another adult in the classroom, use the kids- they can certainly collect homework, put up bulletin boards, etc.
Focus on the Positive
The best way to make use of time is to ensure your students are interested (and maybe, even enjoying) the time in your classroom. All teachers will agree that dealing with behavioral issues and disciplining takes precious time away from teaching and your other students. Start off on a positive note. Praise can be very powerful. Who doesn't love a compliment?! Focus on what you like about the children in your class, and strive to maintain a classroom of compliments, not criticism. For praise to truly be beneficial, it needs to be specific. Whether it is in their attitude or academic work, verbal or written, proudly give that praise. Children will respond when they know a teacher values them as a person and as a student. Will you have difficult children? Possibly. And you may not be able to avoid it, but you can take steps to create a nurturing, optimistic environment.
Five Minutes to a Calmer Classroom
Taking a step back from teaching and/or completing work may be called for if you see your students getting restless. Taking a five minute break to drink water, stretch, jog in place, or meditate can be just what your students (and you) need to get back to work and effectively manage the time you have. students (and you) need to get back to work and effectively manage the time you have.