Every day, parents send their children to school with the hope that their teachers will treat them with care, and provide a valued education. Now, there are many factors that go into creating an environment that will promote such learning in the classroom and it falls on the shoulders of not only the teachers but the students as well. Creating such an atmosphere does not happen overnight. It may take the first few days or weeks to fully establish the kind of classroom that promotes quality learning and positivity. Here are some strategies that you can implement that can help create a positive learning environment for your students.
Create and Implement a Code of Conduct
One of the first steps to having a positive and productive classroom is through a common understanding of both positive and negative behaviors. So, at the beginning of the school year, you will want to establish a code of conduct that the students will abide by. Creating this can be interactive as you can ask the students to identify what they would deem as positive or negative behavior. Through this discussion, you can create a list of behaviors that are respectful, fair, kind, and empathetic. In the end, you and your students should conclude that treating others the way you would want to be treated is the best code of conduct. Including them in this process will add a level of accountability because if they slip up, you can refer to the code of conduct and remind them that it is something they agreed to at the very beginning.
Students love when their teachers try to relate to them. It makes them feel valued and appreciated. Try using humor, or modern technology to speak to them on their level. They will recognize your effort in going the extra mile and appreciate it. It will also help to present the usual “mundane” information like classroom etiquette and curriculum. You also want to be clear in how you articulate and demonstrate your teaching style. While it may be very familiar to you, you must remember that your students will be new to your mannerisms, so be sure to take things slow and work to build the relationships with them. It will all pay off in the end.
Trust will be an important factor to how your classroom operates. First, you want to show your students that you trust them to have a say in matters such as the classroom layout, or project ideas. Doing so will also create fewer decisions for you to make, and it will be fun for the students as they will feel integral in creating their learning environment. You should also have trust in yourself. Believe it or not, but your students will be able to notice if you have doubts about your ability. You should enter the school with a level of confidence that can inspire and excite them for the new year. You do not have to get everything perfect on the first day, or even in the first few weeks. It will take time, but if you are patient and believe in yourself and your students, you will have a great year!