My readers, I’m sure, have excellent classroom management. However, you may be called upon to help out a brand-new colleague or an overwhelmed veteran next door. I have a theory that much of a classroom’s success all depends on the teacher’s voice.
Student teachers I’ve worked with who have poor classroom management often speak in a very high voice. While you can’t change the voice you’ve been given, having taken singing lessons I know that we all have a register which spans from our chest to the top of our head. When managing a classroom, speak from the chest. It gives you power, it’s believable, and it’s not straining. My acting coaches would say, “think low.”
If your voice is too high pitched, it can sometimes sound desperate, apologetic, and it seems as if you are asking students for permission when you are giving directions.
It is no wonder that the teacher having a nervous breakdown in the teacher’s lounge has a classroom full of students having nervous breakdowns. Students tend to take on their teacher’s personality. Even an emergency like a fire, an earthquake, or a first grader wetting his pants requires the teacher to remain calm. If you’re not relaxed in tone then hyper students are more hyper, distracted students are more distracted, and it’s also a lot less fun.
Don’t yell at students. Okay, you might lose it now and then, but don’t be one of those teachers who barks at students on a daily basis. Barking teachers breed barking students. Don’t confuse meanness with firmness.
Mean what you say.
Prepare consequences in advance. Don’t start doling them out as an afterthought. Students don’t believe you when you do that. In every class, there will always be at least one student who tries your rules.
When administering consequences like missing recess or missing out on activity, be prepared to follow through with that consequence. If you make your consequences less severe it’s easier to follow through with them. Five minutes away from the group are going to make a student feel the consequences of his actions but not so much as to punish me or be unreasonable to administer. If it comes out of your mouth, you have to follow through with it. So don’t say you’ll go to the office or you’ll call him unless you’re prepared to it (and again, I suggest having a more reasonable plan in effect to deal with offenses which will most likely be minor.)