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For educators, classroom management can be one of the most challenging skills to master in teaching. You’re going to work with a wide array of students who all approach school and learning in different ways. Some students are going to want to be there, others will view school as the last place they want to spend time. It’s inevitable at some point in your career, you’ll have at least one student act up and give you pushback, so it’s important that you get a handle on classroom management that allows you to avoid that situation as much as possible, but also manage it when it does happen.

Be personable

When it comes to your students, it’s important for them to view you as someone they can talk to and respect; you want to connect with your students. If you try to start the relationship too severely and set yourself up as purely an authority figure, it’ll be difficult for students to look at you as someone they actually want to listen to. Show students you’re there for them and that you actually care. Share details about your life in order for them to get to know you as more than just a teacher.

Listen to students

When students talk to you about their opinions on the class, their lives outside of school, or offer criticism, actually listen to what they’re saying. If a student struggles in class and seems disinterested, try to find out why. When students know you’ll actually listen to them, it’s much easier to manage your classroom because they’ll in turn listen to you.

Watch your tone

It’s common to speak to students in a way you consider authoritative, but is abrasive and condescending to them. Remember that your tone is important, as well as how loud or how quietly you’re talking. Really consider how you talk to your students; if you speak in a way that gives and commands respect, you can manage your classroom.

Give them praise

Even if your students are poorly behaved, look for something to praise every day. Students respond well to positivity and it improves your relationship with them. Creating a positive classroom environment from the beginning is one of the best ways to avoid issues in the future, but also create a relationship of mutual respect, so if an issue occurs, it’s easier to handle it.

Know when to react

Knowing how to react and when in various classroom situations is key to classroom management. If an issue is minor, you can overlook it or mention it in a relaxed, calm way, then continue with class. It’s important to choose your battles instead of being too hard on students from the beginning. Making your expectations and classroom rules clear and talking through them with students can help in classroom management. You must be crystal clear what your expectations are and choose when to take infractions seriously. If you’re too hard on students and distant from them, it gives them excuses to act out because they won’t respect you, feel that you respect them, or care about the class at all.