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4 Tips for High School Teachers

Learn four class management tips for high school teachers from education consultant Grace Dearborn in this Howcast video.


Classroom management tips for high school. Number one, have a seating chart. If you're struggling in your classroom have the seats in rows, instead of in groups or in pairs. As we go into common core we want the students grouped more, and paired more for the activities that we're going to be doing inside our lesson.

But it can be very difficult to manage students who are sitting in pods like that. It is much easier to manage students when they're sitting in rows. That doesn't mean you never have them pair up or you never have them move into groups.

But just have them move back out into rows for when you're doing direct instruction or when you're trying to give them information. So that it's easier for you to manage what's happening there.

Have a seating chart so that you can keep the students who can't sit next to each other away from each other. A lot of times when we're teaching high school we want to approach our students like they are college students, but they are not college students. They still need a seating chart.

They still need a bathroom policy. If you're letting the students go to the bathroom whenever they want because you're kind of trying to kind of mimic them, taking care of their own needs, and treating them like college students.

Students, I guarantee you, will take advantage of that, and will be missing instruction every single day. And over time, those ten minutes out of class each period adds up to a lot of missed instruction and lot of disruption, not only for them in their learning, but for you as the come back into the room each time they've gone out to go to the bathroom.

Also with high school we want to incorporate movement more into our lessons. High school classrooms traditionally in the United States are looking like, a teacher at the front, speaking for 45 minutes to students. And the students just kind of wilting inside of the lack of engagement there.

So the more we can bring movement in, and the more we can have them talking to each other, the better for their learning, and the better for us because then we don't have to be talking for 45 minutes straight.

So every ten minutes, break up you instruction, even if you're in the middle of explaining something to them just stop there have them turn, stand up talk to the next to the person next to them. Incorporating that movement will help keep them on task and will help you stay relaxed with your high school students.

Last, try to incorporate some humor into your teaching. Remember when we first started teaching and we all thought teaching was going to be fun. Well it is supposed to be fun, it's supposed to be fun for us and it's supposed to be fun for them. And we forget that inside of all of the pressure of moving through our pacing guide, or getting through the standards, and the different things that the administration are asking us. Or the District or the State is asking us to do.

So try to incorporate fun, and if you're not sure how to do that, tell a joke to your class even if it flops, the kids will think it's hysterical that you tried. And if they don't laugh, and they don't think it's funny that you tried, then ask them to. "Come on kids I'm trying really hard to be funny, can I at least get a fake laugh." Because then they'll give you a fake laugh. And a fake laugh is better than no laugh at all because in the brain it's the same thing. The brain can't tell the difference, physiologically speaking, between real laughter and fake laughter.

So it's all good for learning whether it's real or it's fake. It's good for circulation. It pushes oxygen and glucose into the brain which is great for learning and for attention and it releases endorphins which is a mood enhancer which is great for learning.

If you're not comfortable doing that, that's okay too, let the kids tell you jokes. "Student's, today before we transition from our warm up activity into the lesson we're going to have one minute of joke time. If you've got a joke you want to tell the class, you're going to get to but make sure it's an appropriate joke. If you tell an inappropriate joke this will be the last time you ever get to share a joke in class. But if it's appropriate let's try it."

Two or three students share a joke, they think it's funny, you think it's funny, everybody has a good time, has a nice laugh. And then you transition into the lesson. Bring humor, bring movement, and use a seating chart.

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