There are so many rules for teachers to follow regarding classroom management. Many teachers find themselves questioning whether or not some of these rules are as necessary as they have been led to believe.
Discussed below are ten of the most prevalent classroom management myths that teachers face today and some alternatives for achieving a thriving class environment.
Myth #1: Classroom decoration shouldn’t be a priority, especially in high schools
TThe first myth we will be discussing in this article is about classroom decoration. Decorating a classroom takes a bit of time, effort, and funds. But, there’s no reason for classroom decorations to break the bank — especially with access to convenient and affordable online shops like Sproutbrite.
Some teachers love decorating. Other teachers dread it. The “haters” suggest that older students, in particular, lack appreciation for decorations and even find them distracting. However, having a lively, stimulating classroom can help inspire your students. If you create a classroom environment where the very walls encourage learning, you could easily engage students and keep them interested.
Myth #2: You should reward students for their good behavior
Now, if students have been exceptionally well-behaved or gone above and beyond the norm, then yes — some type of reward may be in order. However, you have no obligation to reward the average behavior that all students display regularly.
You should not fear that the lack of reward will cause them to regress into deviant behavior. Everyone must learn that to “do right” does not always come with a bribe. If anything, it could be argued that offering a reward every time a student does not make a mistake could hurt their development.
Myth #3: You must put in long hours to be effective
Everyone knows the school system isn’t perfect. Teachers work for a salary, and that salary does not include overtime. Many people think that you have to put in extra hours to be an effective teacher, but this idea simply isn’t accurate. It’s more important that you respect yourself and make the extra effort to make your salaried hours as effective as possible.
The most highly-skilled teachers have learned how to manage their time effectively, including knowing when to “clock out” at the end of the day. There is no benefit to anyone if you take your work home or worry about potential career issues in front of your family.
Myth #4: The worst students need more time than the best students
This idea simply couldn’t be further from the truth. In essence, the teacher who follows this myth rewards poor behavior by favoring the student with more personal time. That isn’t to say that there aren’t exceptions to the rule or reasons why a teacher should give a poor student face-time. But this extra attention certainly shouldn’t be the rule.
Instead, the teacher should acknowledge that students can excel if they commit themselves to the process. But, hand-holding isn’t going to teach the student any life lessons in the interim. Students all want good grades, but some have more difficulty than others.
Myth #5: Your roster determines how your year will go
You are the determiner of your year. The kids in your class are affected by you, and you will be the influencer on them, not the other way around. Therefore, allowing your class roster to affect you negatively is not beneficial to you or the number of other deserving children in your class.
It’s important not to enter the school year with preconceived negative emotions about how the year will pan out. You should look at any potential challenges as just that — a challenge you can meet head-on and conquer in the best possible way.
Myth #6: Talking and indirection during class is inescapable
Some teachers feel that it is inevitable that some students will talk when you’re teaching. While that may be true on occasion, it is in no way a steadfast rule. Instead, the teacher should expect prompt attention from their pupils.
A teacher who has proper classroom control will exude respect, and students will pay attention to them.
Myth #7: Students take advantage of nice teachers
This idea is maybe the worst myth of them all. Students are just children. Kids in your classroom are learning how to view the world around them. Teachers must show their students love and kindness during this time. Indeed, some students will naturally gravitate toward taking advantage, but the vast majority of students will appreciate a teacher’s softer side and respond positively to this stance.
Myth #8: Picking your battles is of the utmost importance
Many teachers will tell you that you have to “pick your battles,” which implies that you can’t fight every battle you feel is important. However, part of being a teacher is caring about your students and fighting for them whenever needed.
The truth is that you should feel supported to take on every battle that you believe is worth your time and attention.
Myth #9: Good classroom management takes years to perfect
This myth perpetuates that new teachers can’t have excellent classroom management skills. This misconception is simply not true. Plenty of new teachers have their boundaries adequately set and manage to exude both strength and compassion within the classroom while earning the respect of their students.
Sayings such as this one instill a “learn later” behavior in many new teachers. However, it is far better for new teachers to expect good classroom management from the get-go.
Myth #10: Building rapport takes time
This concept is another myth that enables teachers to “learn later.” Rather than assuming that reputation comes with putting in the hours, teachers should assume that they have an excellent reputation — simply by being a teacher. Even if this is your first season, fresh out of undergrad, you should believe that you enter your classroom with an excellent reputation. And here’s a promise — your kids will not assume otherwise.
To bust this myth takes confidence, which you can foster over time if you don’t have it yet. And gaining this confidence will work wonders for you and your students.
While teaching is an honorable profession, it can be trying. Learning which “rules” are myths can help teachers better focus on issues that matter — like helping your kids enjoy learning and finding subjects in which they excel.