How to Improve Classroom Management when Relief Teaching

The classroom is vital to the learning environment. The order, the processes, the procedures. Obviously the good classroom teacher will have these completely ingrained in the students. So when a stranger (you) comes in to disrupt their world you can expect, “We don’t do it that way.” The students are perfectly entitled to be protective of their classroom, so be prepared to ask the students about procedural matters.


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    Don’t feel threatened if your way is the wrong way – because it is different to their usual practice. Never force the issue by saying, “Well we are going to do it my way.” If there is conflict between you and their regular teacher, they will REJECT YOU!
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    Set the classroom up for success. Unfortunately you don’t have much choice here. The classroom only belongs to you for a short period of time. You are really only a classroom sitter. But there are some things you can do to help. Don’t be afraid to move some furniture around to suit the day you have planned. I suggest taking a photo with your phone so you know how it looked. Then you could return it to its original condition at the end of the day.
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    Keep YOUR equipment within easy reach and secure all your valuables. Easily accessible materials and supplies can eliminate delays, disruptions, and confusion for students.
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    Making Learning Rewarding. I know the old argument about intrinsic worth of education and kids should not work just for rewards – Blah! Blah! Blah! But honestly, would you work if you didn’t get paid? Kids love rewards – (and so do I!). I use a business card approach as just one of my strategies. I used to make up my own which proved a laborious task.
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    Control the movement. The way kids move around the room is important to the success of the learning environment. Make certain pathways to the common areas are clear and free. This includes the bin, the tap, your desk.
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    Keep the turkeys from flying. It is a sad fact that there will be a class where you will encounter turkeys. You know the kids who spend the whole day going “Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!” At least that is what it sounds like. Certainly it makes as much sense. Hopefully you will have recognised them early and put in place the proactive steps of standing close, maintaining eye contact. You need to cut them off quickly. The rule, as a relief teacher, is – “Don’t interfere with the learning of others!”
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    Be prepared. Have a time out area ready. In every flight, the flight attendant always asks passengers to be aware of the nearest exit. In the classroom, particularly if you are new, you need to consider the exit strategies if things go pear-shaped.

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Categories: Learning Techniques and Student Skills