If you're a new teacher starting your journey in the classroom, first of all: CONGRATULATIONS! It's such an exciting milestone, and it's completely normal to feel excited, nervous, even a little overwhelmed at times.
With years of experience in the classroom, I understand the challenges you may face – from your little learners having first day jitters to temper tantrums of epic proportions (lol, eek!) and everything in between.
That's why I'm here to share some valuable classroom management strategies to help you navigate through your first year with confidence and composure. Even if you might be sweating it on the inside … with these classroom management tips, no one will ever know!
Tip 1: Come up with classroom rules... and stick to them
Early elementary and primary school students look to you for guidance on how to behave in the classroom. Trust me, setting clear rules from the beginning is essential to establish expectations. While it may be tempting to ease up on the rules as the year progresses, it's crucial to maintain consistency. Create a visual display of classroom rules to keep the rules top of mind with your little learners. I love to phrase your rules from a positive stance. For instance - rather than saying ‘no running in the classroom,’ try a positive statement like ‘we walk safely in the classroom.’
Use a visual display to put your classroom rules front and center and keep your kids on track, just like my newest addition from the Daisy Gingham collection
Tip 2: Embrace a growth mindset to celebrate success
Creating a supportive environment for your little learners is key to effective classroom management. Adopting a growth mindset approach helps students develop a positive outlook on their abilities and fosters a sense of community. Encourage students to reframe self-criticism and praise their classmates' strengths. By modelling a growth mindset, you become a role model for your students. I’m so passionate about embodying a growth mindset I’ve created Growth Mindset Posters and Motivational Posters in EVERY decor theme. Plus I’ve written an ENTIRE blog on how to support a growth mindset in your classroom. It’s absolutely one to add to your reading list!
Caption: Helping your students to develop a Growth Mindset is one of the most powerful things you can do! And one of the easiest ways to do it is with my Growth Mindset Posters. Pictured here the wonderful @miss_grosse_ with my Spotty Pastel Growth Mindset Posters.
Tip 3: Be firm, but fair
Maintaining control in the classroom requires assertiveness without losing your cool. Sounds simple but it’s not easy when you’re experiencing sensory overload and answering the millionth interruption and it’s only 10am. I’m a big fan of using the tactical pause to regain students' attention and name dropping to redirect off-task students subtly. If a firmer redirect is necessary, avoid being forceful. Offer students a choice, such as returning to the task or sitting at your desk, to restore ownership. And if the volume levels in the classroom need a little work, then you’ll want to grab my Voice Levels Displays and my Hand Signals Posters. Seriously, your ears will thank you!
Are the noise levels in your classroom giving a jumbo jet some stiff competition? You might want to download my Voice Levels Displays.
Tip 4: Don't take it personally
Even with the best classroom management strategies, there may be times where your little learners' reactions are out of your control. Remember that student behavior is not always a reflection of your teaching. Stay calm and rational, providing a supportive presence for your kids as they work through challenges and develop their emotional regulation skills. Some of my favorite ways to help do just that is by including an Affirmation Station and a calm corner in my classroom. You can even involve your class in the process of creating the affirmations as a fun and collaborative activity.
Caption: Creating a Calm Corner in your classroom – like this one by @teachingwith_jaz – is a super effective way to help your little learners develop their emotional regulation skills and give themselves permission to chill when it all gets a bit *too* much.
Adding an Affirmation Station to your classroom can help create a positive classroom culture and support your students when they’re having a tough time. Just like the AMAZING @teachingwith.misscrystal has done with my spotty pastels resources.
Tip 5: Use visual displays to reinforce behavior expectations
Visual aids are powerful tools to enhance classroom management, especially for early years students. Display visual cards that provide information about daily activities, reducing repetitive questions and fostering independence. Seriously, you will be asked the same question a SQUILLION times and while it’s cute at first… it gets old fast. Some of my favorite displays to include on your walls are Time Tables to help your little learners predict what’s next and Classroom Jobs to give your students a sense of ownership and responsibility for the day-to-day happenings in the classroom. After all, it’s their classroom, too!
Get your little learners involved in the day-to-day running of your classroom with my Classroom Jobs displays and you’ll never have to put things away again! Okay, you probably will but less than without this resource!
Where to from here?
I’m going to keep it real with you, being a new teacher comes with its challenges, but the rewards absolutely make it worthwhile. Remember, there are so many different teaching styles and it’s important you find yours and embrace your unique approach.
By implementing these classroom management strategies and utilizing all the resources I’ve created, you'll be well-equipped to cultivate a calm and productive learning environment for your students.
Your little learners are SO fortunate to have a kind, passionate, and generous teacher guiding them through this exciting year.