4 Tips for Managing the Modern Education System

Aug 2, 2019 by

Each year, being an educator becomes a little bit more complicated. Institutional policies, performance expectations, shifting curriculums, and other moving parts can make it hard for teachers to focus on what’s important and stay motivated and enthusiastic about helping young minds learn and grow.

Classroom management is a particular struggle for many educators in the 21st century. Just about all teachers love to help kids learn, but it can be difficult to keep control of the classroom and keep kids engaged throughout the day. If you’re struggling with how to set your students up for success and keep them engaged and well-behaved throughout the day, try these 4 tips for modern classroom management.

Tip 1: Prepare Students for What Lies Ahead

Sometimes, it’s hard to teach students abstract concepts because they don’t understand how learning those concepts will apply to their lives. While it’s not always possible to connect what you’re learning with practical applications, you can take some of your time in the classroom to help prepare your students for their life after school.

It’s never too early to start teaching students the skills they’ll need later in life. While you should always encourage your students to follow their dreams and reach for what they want, you’ll also want to prepare them for the realities of the working world and help them become better communicators. In middle school, for example, you could teach business communications by having different groups form “companies” and communicate with one another. In high school, you might go over the job-hunting process and what kinds of challenges students might face when they’re on their own.

Tip 2: Emphasize Learning Expectations

Structure is key to effective classroom management. If there are no clear rules or expectations, students may create their own expectations, which are unlikely to be similar to the ones you have in mind. It’s important to start each school year off with clear learning expectations and to reinforce them regularly.

Don’t be afraid to set the bar too high initially. It’s much easier to lower the bar down the road than it is to raise it. When given clear expectations, many kids reach to meet them and end up excelling.

Tip 3: Introduce Wellness to the Classroom

One of the most challenging aspects of school is that students have to sit and be quiet all day in the classroom. Sitting too much isn’t good for our health, and it is especially difficult for kids who have limited attention spans and boundless energy. Physical activity, a healthy diet, and mindfulness activities (such as meditation, yoga, and massage) can all make a huge difference in behavior and learning outcomes.

Teachers can introduce wellness to the classroom in several ways. First, supplementing recess with physical activity throughout the day can improve kids’ cognitive function and allow them to focus and behave.

Second, incorporating moments for mindfulness and encouraging healthy habits by teaching about health topics and removing associations between food and reward or punishment in the classroom can all improve kids’ behavior and set them up for good habits later in life.

Tip 4: Strategize with Peers for Fresh Ideas

Educators often have to take professional development into their own hands if they want to get fresh new ideas for classroom management. By networking with other teachers, educators can strategize and access innovative solutions from others. Social media and online education learning platforms are an especially effective tool for connecting teachers who want to learn from one another. These platforms allow for open discussion and don’t require a time commitment or any cost.

“Crowdsourcing” ideas from peers can help teachers come up with ideas for incorporating the other tips in this list. For example, one teacher may be stumped about how to incorporate healthy physical activity into the classroom, while another has trouble with how to set clear expectations for their classroom. If these teachers have another area of classroom management worked out, they can share knowledge and bring fresh ideas into classrooms around the country.

Remember the Goal

Teaching isn’t easy. Every educator gets discouraged from time to time. Remembering the goal—to help kids learn and set them up for a bright future—and turning to other teachers for support can really help when classroom management is a struggle. Not only does networking connect teachers with others who have been in their shoes, but it also helps innovative solutions flourish in our complex, 21st century classrooms.

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