Controlling a classroom is a skill gained by experience. Usually when you lose control of a classroom, the situation spirals quickly. It’s best to act fast and decisively so that your students know who is in charge. Once you lose complete control of a classroom, it is difficult to regain the respect and attention of your students. Therefore, controlling a classroom is possibly the must important skill any teacher should learn. Here are four tips on how to regain control of your classroom.
- Stop the lesson and observe the class so as to understand best exactly what is going on. Stopping the lesson is not a sign of weakness and will allow you to make better decisions based on your teaching intuitions. It will also prevent students from controlling the conversation.
- Changing the classroom seating arrangements is helpful because it will change the social dynamics of the classroom. Move the troublemakers away from each other and have students sit next to other students who do not normally socialize together. Moving students help you regain control because the social dynamics will be different. Additionally changing the seating arrangements could create a friendlier atmosphere in the classroom amongst the students.
- Use body language to convey control. The best way to do this is by making eye contact with the instigator. Making eye contact with a single student will tell them that they are disrupting the classroom and preventing you from teaching. Most likely, the will become quiet, and the rest of the classroom will follow suit.
- If all else fails, talk to the class. Let them know that they are causing a problem and share your frustration with them. Do so in a decisive manner that conveys control though, not one where you are asking for their sympathy. They may not respect you afterward otherwise.
Daniel Behan has worked in the public education system for over 25 years. He spent time as a middle school teacher in Rochester, New York and served as a Principal at one time. He was a Quarter-Finalist for Teacher of the Year Award in the State of New York.