For a substitute teacher, classroom management can be one of the biggest challenges of the day. Every classroom's rules vary, and each teacher has a different style as to how she keeps students on task. Substitute teachers who have a strong handle on classroom management will find themselves being requested more as a sub, and their days will be less stressful. In the elementary schools, use some practical tips to keep things running smoothly.
First, begin each day by reviewing the classroom rules with the students. When children don't know if their leader knows the rules, they will either assume there are no boundaries, or they will push the limits until they know where they are. Taking a few minutes at the beginning of the day will set the tone, and communicate to students that you know the rules and you expect them to abide by them.
Resist the temptation to focus on negative behavior. While it is easy to call out a child who is misbehaving, it can start a day-long battle. Instead, call attention to students who are following rules, being helpful and productive. Give attention to the behaviors you want, and watch other students fall into line.
Eliminate down time. When students don't have something productive to do, things start to fall apart. While teachers should leave adequate work for the students, seasoned subs know that it doesn't always work out that way. Always have some tricks up your sleeve to fill time. The goal is not just to keep kids busy, but learning too. A list of ideas in your bag will keep you from panicking when you realize you've run out of things to do.
Offer tangible rewards. A quick stop at a dollar store will provide you with some ammunition to reward students who have listened well all day. Even a small treat, such as a pencil, bookmark, or small piece of candy will go a long way in motivating students to do their best in the absence of their regular teacher.
Every substitute teacher's first concern is "Will I get called in enough?" The second is "How will I control these students now that I have the job?" Use Subassistant.com along with these practical tips and you'll have the two biggest worries put to rest so that you can enjoy investing time in educating young children! What other ways do you practice effective classroom management?