How Do I Keep My Students Quiet? Classroom Management by Joel Wagner - June 7, 2007August 4, 201614 This article is part 1 of the series Questions That Will Save Your Career.Â Before you can focus on engaging your students, or making sure they learn or whatever, you must learn how to keep your students quiet. The rest of the articles in the series are: How Do I Keep My Students Quiet? How Do I Keep My Students Engaged? How Do I Keep My Students Interested? How Do I Keep My Students Learning? How Do I Keep My Students Away From Me? How Do I Keep My School Administration Happy? How Do I Keep My Sanity? 10 Years of Teaching: How Do I Keep My Students Quiet? 10 Years of Teaching: How Do I Keep My Students Engaged? 10 Years of Teaching: How Do I Keep My Students Interested? 10 Years of Teaching: How Do I Keep My Students Learning? 10 Years of Teaching: How Do I Keep My Students Away From Me? 10 Years of Teaching: How Do I Keep My School Administration Happy? 10 Years of Teaching: How Do I Keep My Sanity? What are some things I do to keep them quiet? Why is being quiet important? I am convinced that classroom management is the key to success in teaching. It is something about which I have become passionate. Why? Because poorly managed classrooms waste the time and the lives of everyone involved. As a teacher, I hate it when I allow my students to be out of control. As a student, I don’t learn as much as I should. Either way, it is a no-win situation. So what are some things I do to keep studentsÂ quiet? 1. Accept responsibility Everything that goes on in my classroom is my fault. Good things happen because I set up the expectations. Bad things that happen are because I allowed them to happen. While this is not entirely true — sometimes kids do dumb things and act like kids because they ARE kids — accepting responsibility will revolutionize everything that you do. Our culture likes to deny responsibility much of the time. Do not allow students to deny responsibility, and do not allow yourself to do so either. 2. Establish procedures These must begin to be set up from the very beginning. How do you want the students to enter the classroom? How do you want them to ask to use the restroom? When is is acceptable to leave the seat? What happens when the fire alarm goes off? Does the bell dismiss the class? When do we sharpen pencils? How is homework to be turned in? When do we get our instruments out and begin playing? How do we go about asking a question? 3. Identify authority Every group of people will have a leader. Is it going to be you or is it going to be a twelve year old? Figure out who the leader is. What if you’re not there? Who is the leader? I personally like the idea of finding out who the oldest three students are, and making sure that everyone knows that when I am not there, the oldest person in the room is in charge. Usually, that is a substitute. Occasionally, I may need to go into my office to get something. In that case, the oldest student is the one who is in charge. Even if it’s the kids who has failed two times, the responsibility will usually make them step up 4. Avoid arguing at all costs This applies to life. Arguments never win friends. Arguments never prove your point. Arguments are what make Jerry Springer fun to watch. Don’t have them in your class, and especially not with a child. 5. Overexplain While I do not like the idea of talking too much, I also like the idea of giving complete information. I plan to spend this year economizing my words and yet increasing their effectiveness. Overexplain expectations, but at the same time don’t say too much. “That’s not good enough” is usually good enough to get better results! 6. Overprepare Do not get to class without a plan. Know where you are aiming to be by the end of the year. Know where you are aiming to be by the end of the six weeks. Know where you are aiming to be by the end of the week. Know where you will be by the end of the class. Do not let anything keep you from accomplishing your most important task for the day. 7. Raise your expectations People will give you the results you expect them to give you. Low expectations are bad. High expectations are good. Good enough simply isn’t good enough. 8. Communicate It’s amazing how one parent phone call can make a student work much better. This policy works wonders. if a child shows an inability to function correctly with the rest of the group, perhaps their parents want to know. It’s not always the case, but often is. Classroom management is one of my favorite topics. It opens doors to a world of extremely successful teaching. Five years after I wrote the article, I revisited this topic. Please check out 10 Years of Teaching: How Do I Keep My Students Quiet? I have written extensively on the subject of classroom management 5 Surefire Tips For Handling Misbehavior 5 Ways To Win When Children Test Your Limits A Customer Service Oriented Classroom Experience All Time Best Teaching Advice Are You Still Out Of Control In Your Classroom? Arguing Is Normal, isn’t It? Calling Home Classroom Management: The Key To Your Success Habit 2: Classroom Procedures What My Classroom Is Really Like I also find that good classroom management skills are vital in keeping teachers from quitting. I have written extensively on the subject of teachers quitting 9 Reasons To Quit Teaching (And 10 Reasons To Stick) Invalid Reasons Teachers Quit Looking For A New Job? Tools For Success Valid Reasons Teachers Quit Where Have All The Good Teachers Gone? Joel WagnerJoel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.