Our in-house expert on classroom management, Dylan Williams, has over 33 years of teaching experience. Our teacher partner shares his accrued wisdom with our team of teachers, TAs and cover supervisors while they work in schools, supporting the SupplyWell community with practical tips and techniques.
Take a look at some of Dylan’s 10 top tips to keep your class running smoothly.
1. Be prepared
When you go into a classroom it can be helpful to prepare for the worst case scenario and for a supply teacher this might be that there has been no work set, there’s no paper and there’s no stationary. You will feel much more confident knowing that you’re prepared for this scenario.
At SupplyWell we give as much information as possible about roles so it’s unlikely you will be caught off guard, however it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
2. Knowledge is power
If you are on long term placement you should ask lots of questions before your start date. The more you enquire beforehand the better your time at the school will be, especially when it comes to behaviour and classroom management.
You can do this by emailing the school a week before you start and gain knowledge of the curriculum, knowledge of policies (especially behaviour and safeguarding). Differentiation is also key in lesson prepping, so asking about the class ability can ensure that the lessons you plan on delivering are appropriate. This will result in a more enjoyable teaching experience for you and the class.
Students like praise. If anyone does anything good, helpfulness, good answers, attempts an answer then raise that student.
4. Awareness of surroundings
Introduce yourself to the teacher next door – say hello and explain you may need support if the children don’t engage. Find out where the photocopier and loos are before you need either in a hurry!
5. Be firm and consistent
Always remember the students won’t respect you before you respect them so try not to shout, don’t raise your voice and be calm. Try to be low profile in your interventions of disruption, 1 to 1 whisper.
6. Be confident
Approach the day with a positive attitude – things may not always go to plan but that just makes for a more interesting day!
7. Technology set-up
Log on early as possible to avoid time wasting and the chance of your class getting unsettled.
8. First impressions count
The starting activity is crucial – an interesting and exciting task, rather than a boring reading material. Maybe something on the board that gains interest.It does not have to necessarily be relevant to the lesson itself, but a connection can be part of adding to engagement overall.
9. Create a sense of purpose
The students have expectations i.e. ‘they aren’t going to learn because their teachers are off’. But if you set the expectations then it’s in your control to guide the outcome. Working in their usual way, same exercise books with clear expectations from you that this work is planned and will be marked should lead to stronger learning outcomes.
10. Be punctual
A straightforward piece of advice but very important nonetheless. Arriving on time means less stress setting up for the day and having time on your side makes all the difference.
We hope you’ve found our 10 top tips on classroom management helpful! Do you have any tips to share? Let us know on Twitter!
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