Teaching is one of the most enlightening professions, as a teacher is not only meant to be knowledgeable, patient, organized, understanding, and kind but also subject to listening to, learning from, and caring for their students of all ages. Yet, teaching can also be a great challenge, especially when societal circumstances are less than ideal…
This could mean anything from district changes in procedure, boundaries, or course offerings to having to shift completely online mid-school year due to a worldwide pandemic. Sound familiar? Those are the big hurdles to jump, let alone day-to-day woes like difficult students, rumors, bullying, gossip, drama, concerning behavior, mental health awareness, and so on.
No “How-To” guide can prepare someone for the realities and minutia of the classroom, but they can help you hit the ground running, so to speak. That’s why we’re giving a “Behavior Tips for Teachers” guide to our teachers, student teachers, and soon-to-be teachers to refer to.
Best Behavior Tips for Teachers
Everything starts in the classroom, and you (as the teacher) are at the very heart of it all. That means you’re the one in charge of building a trusting, positive, constructive, and functioning learning environment from day one.
Be Upfront, Candid, and Open to Conversations
Start by laying down the law as soon as possible. If the semester, term, or school year has already started, have a sit-down with your students and discuss classroom changes. If you’re reading this before school starts, be clear and candid in your syllabus and again when you first meet your class. Stick to those rules and routines, because inconsistency is what leads to chaos in these sorts of environments.
This means establishing the law and order of the classroom, rules, punishment systems, and grace periods. But, don’t do so at the expense of debate, discussion, amendments, and extenuating circumstances.
There’s a fine line between being authoritative and authoritarian, and you want to lean more toward the former for obvious reasons. If you’re not open to conversations, whether it be about a grade, a punishment, or a policy, how can you expect your students to come to you for anything else?
Put Relationships First
Remember that your students are humans too. This is a vital behavior tip for teachers. You should always remember to welcome them to class, greet them in the halls, strike up casual conversations, ask how your students are doing (and mean it; follow up if necessary), use deliberate phrasing (which we’ll get to in a moment), and be an advocate for them above all else. Yes, you are there to help them learn and prepare for life after grade school, but you’re also there to be a mentor to them – not a friend, exactly, as those boundaries are a bit different, but you want to be someone they can come to with anything, from the highs to the lows.
Speaking of highs and lows, the way you speak to your students can greatly affect the classroom atmosphere. For example, avoid using “please” at the end of sentences that are meant to command. It immediately devalues and sugarcoats whatever it is you’re asking or telling them to do. Instead, swap in “thank you” or another similar phrase that implies authority or some sort of expectation. Using certain practices and language will teach the student valuable behaviors that they otherwise may not come by outside of your classrooms, such as responsibility, patience, respect, and general communication skills.
Focus on positive reinforcement, constructive criticism, encouragement, listening skills, and kindness above all else.
Boundaries Are Key
Establishing proper boundaries goes hand in hand with prioritizing relationships. This is one of the most important behavior tips for teachers. To help build responsibility through boundaries, allow the students to establish some of the rules and punishments. By doing this, studies tend to show that it limits negative behavior and improves the work environment, as it more closely replicates what they think a workspace should be. By this, we mean that they work better when they know where they stand, what to expect, and what’s expected of them.
Different “How-To” guides will list behaviors that should be addressed early on in the school year and education career, but there’s one thing they all have in common: focus heavily on attention and respect. This means listening when someone is talking, not doing anything distracting (like making noise or carrying on conversations), sitting in seats properly, sitting at attention during lecture time, and so forth.
Try employing the pause. Teach students that if they’re disrespectful or rude, you (and your lesson plan) will wait until the order is reestablished and they’re ready to cooperate. Typically, these pauses also teach responsibility and ownership, as their peers are more likely to point out that a pause is happening while they wait for the disruptive party to come to attention rather than the teacher needing to be authoritative. If a peer advises another peer to do something, they are more likely to acquiesce.
Make Your Classroom Feel Like Family with 1st Place Spiritwear
When thinking about these behavior tips for teachers, consider bringing your class together. Do something unifying like bringing in unique class T-shirts or something similar from 1st Place Spiritwear. While we specialize in custom designs for T-shirts and outerwear for schools generally, there’s nothing stopping an individual class from having a unique article of clothing tying them together! It could be a shirt for a class trip, field trip, club convention, competition – you name it.
Whether it’s a shirt design for a whole grade, a whole school, a whole district, or a whole class, you can rest assured that you’ll get premium service and top-notch designs for a fair price with 1st Place Spiritwear. Plus, you don’t have to do any of the grunt work of the design, product manufacturing, or distribution. You and your students can just wear the shirts with pride knowing that they were a part of your class, which became a class family throughout the school year, whether in person or online. Good luck with your school year!