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Classroom Management Made Easy For Substitute Teachers

As difficult as being a teacher can be, if you’re a substitute teacher, you definitely feel the stress in your job.  When students are introduced to a substitute teacher, their first response is often to think, “Today’s a day to goof off!”  Here are a few classroom management tips that will help you to wrangle even the toughest group of students into submission.

Establish Your Authority

One of the problems many substitutes have when they’re looking at a new sea of faces in a classroom is lacking authority.  You’re in charge.  The authority has been given to you by the school district to take charge of that classroom.  While you want the kids to like you, they need to know you’re just as authoritative as their regular teacher.  The kids will respect you if you demonstrate that authority right from the beginning.  Speak loudly and use body language that reinforces your level of confidence.

Don’t Yell

Yes, you’ll probably lose your temper.  But if you can maintain your composure, you’ll maintain control of your classroom.  Kids are used to their teachers yelling at them, and it doesn’t really do any good.  Yelling at kids shows them that they’re gaining the upper hand, which is the last thing you want them to think.  Speak in a firm voice that’s low enough that the kids will have to stop talking to hear you.  You’ll get their attention.

Use Rewards

Kids love rewards.  Even older kids will rise to the occasion to earn a free hall pass or a homework pass.  If you can find out from their regular teacher a few types of rewards that will be okay to hand out, you’ll quickly gain the confidence of the classroom. Kids generally expect punishment from substitute teachers, so by using rewards, you’ll give them (and you) a positive classroom experience.

Your job is important.  Even though you don’t have the opportunity to get to know a group of students really well, you provide their teachers with a valuable resource.  Learning how to effectively manage your classroom will help you enjoy your job even more than you already do.

Photo © COEComm

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