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  • Writer's pictureJayden Racca

How to handle any classroom situation as a first time teacher

As an incoming elementary school teacher, you enter the workforce prepared with confidence and excitement about your future career. However, when thrown into your own classroom setting, it is common to feel frazzled when issues start to arise with real life students and their needs.

For moments that your training has escaped your mind, experienced 2nd grade teacher

Jenna Racca has some simple, insider tips on how to manage a modern classroom for first time elementary school teachers.

Setting Expectations

Try starting the school year off with a collaborative effort in creating classroom expectations. Doing so as a group will increase student buy-in while stressing the idea that they are a family.

Things to Remember:

  • Create three expectations that generally umbrella most situations, (Ex. Be kind, be respectful, be safe).

  • Avoid creating these as a threat.

  • Teach these expectations throughout the year. It is unreasonable to expect students to already know what they look like.

Student Disruption

If a student is disturbing the classroom setting, Racca suggests redirecting their attention back to the task at hand. If unsuccessful, make a point to praise another student for their positive work. If the student continues, call them to the side and ask them if they know what they are supposed to be doing.

Things to Remember:

  • Redirection can be done verbally or nonverbally, (Ex. pointing down to their assignment).

  • Do not call students out by name in front of the class. Doing so can spark sought after attention.

  • Ask them what they feel they need to turn things around?

Struggling Students

To implement a healthy learning environment, it is important to offer welcoming, judgment free help. When assigning work, head to the back of the room and make yourself available.

Things to Remember:

  • If more than three students come to the back table, consider reteaching the lesson.

  • When it comes to writing, offer help individually.

Falling Asleep

An elementary school student's sleep cycle is rarely a reflection of their own decisions. Tired students should be treated delicately and with sympathy. Racca recommends asking the student why they are feeling so tired and inviting them to take a walk and have a drink of water. If still tired, allow them to rest their eyes and refresh.

Things to Remember:

  • Questions: Did you not sleep well? Did you eat breakfast?

  • Consider implementing a “cozy corner” in your classroom: A comfortable spot with pillows that is primarily meant for reading time, but can be doubled for resting.

  • Email home whenever fatigue in class is an issue.

Student/Teacher Dynamic

Children should be treated as individuals rather than just students. They have their own opinions and experiences that should be valued. Even at a young age, they are oftentimes the only ones who know what is best for themselves.

Things to Remember:

  • Get to know your students personally.

  • Ask what they need to resolve negative behavior.

  • Be patient. The best form of discipline is reflection.

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