During the exam season, how can teachers manage effective classroom management?
The exams seasons is an anxious time for students, parents, and teachers. This post shares some tips for teachers to help reduce this stress …
During the exam season, a question that I am asked the most is ‘What strategies can I share to handle low-level disruption? This can be difficult for teachers and students; lessons can be disrupted as emotions run high. I believe what we should be asking as teachers is, ‘What strategies can I share to minimise low-level disruption?’ It’s something that will always exist in every teacher’s classroom throughout the year, especially at this time of year!
Here are my top tips to reduce the level of disruption in your classes.
1. Be present and engaging
Your students deserve to see the best version of you, and this is really hard because we are all human too. However, at the very least, we should give them our time and dedication for the time they are with us. That means you have to only allow yourself to be distracted by your students.
Close the classroom door if you have to. Turn off the mobile notifications and email pop-ups. Subsequently, you will become more engaged and invested in your lesson.
2. Create a positive environment
As humans, we all thrive on positivity, even more so in this new world of instant ‘likes’. Nonetheless, the fact remains we work better when someone praises us or shows recognition for our effort – the reward loop – and so do our students.
Try really hard to keep your classroom environment positive; what you say and do as well as what your students say and do! Here are some useful phrases you can build into your teacher dialogue:
- What a great answer…. Tell me more about…
- I love what you have done there… I wonder how could you make this even better?
- This is great… can you take it to the next level by…
- I really appreciate your input, but maybe this time we could hear from someone else…
Being organised is an essential part of the job. Students have a wonderful way of exploiting teachers if we are not organised. This can lead to disruption and more effort on your part.
If you struggle with organisation, talk to colleagues about their systems and approaches – or just have a ‘nose’ in other teacher-classrooms to see how they make life easier for themselves Even if you take just one idea away, it’s worth it!
4. Planning and preparation
Planning is absolutely key to reducing the amount of disruption in lessons. Sadly, you will need to dedicate time to this outside your allocated timetable until things become a little more settled. Knowing what you are doing and what you want to achieve gives you more focus and direction, plus a greater level of confidence when delivering a lesson.
The best time to plan your next lesson is as soon as possible AFTER you have just delivered your last lesson. Do this as part of your reflection process whilst things are fresh in your mind. When you reflect, consider the following:
- What went well?
- Who picked things up easily and who didn’t?
- Why did some children struggle with aspects of the lesson?
- What can you do to prevent this or reinforce the topic next time?
- How did your students respond or react to the work?
“An effective teacher reflects on their teaching in order to evolve as a teacher” Burnage, 2018.
5. Change your perspective
Whether you are in sales or writing a comedy sketch, we must think about our audience. Who are you pitching to? How might it make them feel? What thoughts or feelings do I want to evoke? I could go on!
The point is you are teaching the students in front of you right now, so think about who they are, what their lives and experiences are and how that might impact their experience of school. My 3 golden rules for handling low-level disruption:
- Be alert and assertive (not shouty)
- Engage and enjoy your students
- Be patient, polite and positive.
I appreciate that low-level disruption is a complete pain, but we as teachers should do everything in our power to reduce it …