Middle school classroom management that won’t drive you mad
Teaching middle school will be one of the most challenging (and rewarding) experiences you could ever have.
The students you teach are creative and curious. They’re also bundles of emotion. One minute, they seem to be full of endless energy, and the next they tired to do anything you ask of them.
The needs and mood swings of middle school students can wreak havoc on any pre-conceived classroom management strategies you’ve developed unless you focus on two things: relationships and praise.
To say that this age group is unique is an understatement. The egocentric world of the middle schooler’s younger years in elementary school has expanded to include other people. Combine this insatiable need to know with the need for frequent affirmation, sprinkle in a massive dose of hormones, and you have the quintessential middle school student.
You also have the need for exceptional classroom management skills.
Well-ordered + well-structured = well run
Every classroom must be organized for learning. In addition, students need structure. It’s how they know what to do and when to do it.
Classroom organization means several things.
First, you’ve removed the clutter from your classroom, and there are no precarious mountains of paperwork lying about. You’ve arranged your room so that all students, regardless of where they sit, can see what’s going on. Chairs, desks and flexible seating arrangements encourage students to collaborate.
Next, you’ve built your lessons should around structure. Your opening and closing routines are predictable from day to day, Your transitions between activities are familiar. Consistency is reassuring to middle school students. They need it to be successful.
Even daily classroom activities like sharpening a pencil necessitate procedures. Middle school students are impulsive. Is it okay for them to get up to sharpen a pencil while you’re talking?
Consider some of the other procedures you’ll need to establish, like turning in homework, moving desks for conferencing, or entering the room. Teach the behaviors you want to see.
How well you organize your classroom and routines in middle school will affect how well you can manage your classroom.
Develop your own system
Middle school isn’t the place for classroom management mavericks. Safe and orderly schools are the result of teamwork. When teachers the same classroom management system across a grade level or schoolwide, students benefit from the structure and consistency.
How the system works in your classroom depends on your style.
Whether you call it unique or quirky, you have to make your classroom management system your own. Even with a schoolwide behavior management system in place, your students will appreciate it if you add your personal touch to it. They love the novelty.
So how does your classroom stand out from every other teacher’s classroom?
Maybe you’re the teacher who plays transitional music aligned to the lesson theme, or you have a unique ways to celebrate student success with special with a special rap.
What to avoid
Sometimes your middle school classroom management strategies will go wrong. You’ll be frustrated or maybe even angry. Your middle school students will be watching your reaction.
Bounce back. Laugh at yourself and move on. It’s an opportunity to model resiliency for your students.
They’ll be glad to see that you’re human, too, and that you can recover from mistakes.
With careful attention to your middle school classroom management, you and your students can focus on learning.