The first few weeks of the new school year can be very tiring! So many new faces to meet, names to learn, expectations to set, baseline assessments to complete, schemes of work to plan, marking to do…the list is endless. Many teachers begin the new year with a real focus on behaviour. Whether that is through classroom rules, collaboratively agreed contracts, behaviour for learning or a more general setting of expectations, it is important because positive behaviour in your classroom makes your life much easier and allows the students to learn. I hope you are all settling in with your new class(es) and finding that your relationships with students and their behaviour are working. However, if they’re not…what can you do? Consistency is key and remember that you are not alone. Experienced teachers still find certain classes more challenging than others and it can take time to get things right. It is important to stick with it so everyone can benefit from their time in the classroom. Here’s a reminder of some top behaviour management tips. Good luck. Always remember that you can start again When you’ve had a bad day or lesson, let it go. Try not to go over what you should have said or done. Children have a brilliant ability to start again and they expect to be given a clean slate each time by you. You deserve the same. Address the issues but begin again and believe that things can change. Know their names and use them regularly At this point in the term, you should know the names of your students. Perhaps teaching certain subjects in a secondary school means you don’t see classes regularly but even then, make this a priority. Print photo registers and attach it to your seating plans and have this on the desk if necessary until you’ve got it. We all respond much better when spoken to as an individual. Have formalised seating plans decided by you Whatever system you prefer – boy/girl, ability grouping, alphabetical – use it. Avoid discussion and be ready to change it throughout the term. Working with their friends usually has limited benefit and regular movement can encourage more collaboration and less unwanted chat. Use positive language Just as you might ask “have I explained that clearly?” instead of “do you understand?” you can lessen the opportunity for talking back by focusing on positive language that implies students are about to do the right thing. “Please listen carefully now,” rather than “stop talking.” Say thank you and be specific about what students have done well. Make the rules clear and stick to them. Follow up on all sanctions and rewards. Children of all ages need consistency and to know that you mean what you say. Few things lose a class more quickly than empty threats so be careful to follow the procedure of the school and the rules you have laid out. Try to make the time to follow up on positive behaviour as often as negative. An email home, or a simple sticker is surprisingly well received even by Year 11 students. Have high expectations but give students choices You should expect all students to follow the rules but as we all know, some students will find this more difficult than others. It is important to appear to be fair. Try to avoid backing a student into a corner where they are more likely to continue to defy you. Give them options and ways out of escalating behaviour. Praise Send emails home, give rewards (small, sustainable, ideally non-edible), provide incentives and try to be creative with what you offer. Can you do something different to other teachers? Make scratch reward cards, display student of the week, the class earn a joint reward or time break, choose a song to end the lesson etc. Time Remember to pause and give students time to think and to respond to your questions or instructions. This can be especially important when challenging behaviour could escalate. Give options and look away to deflect the attention. When questioning a class, give thinking time. Some reports suggest teachers wait as little as 20 seconds before expecting an answer so be conscious that you might be moving too quickly and causing students to opt out. Be the teacher, not a friend. Be in control Try to find a good balance between showing interest in and care for your students without becoming too friendly. Being assertive doesn’t need to be authoritarian, and you can certainly use the idea of learning together where appropriate, but don’t overindulge the students. They can find ways to take over or detract from their learning if they sense the opportunity. Ask for help when you need it Seek help wherever you can get it – colleagues, heads of department, friends, TES forums – and ignore those who claim to have no problem with that group. Sometimes you will need to try every different strategy available before things work and there’s no failure in that. Observe other teachers if you can (when time allows) and ask what others have found effective. Please note that this forum, including all content posted in it (whether by you or us or on our behalf), is subject to our General Terms and Conditions which can be found here:https://www.tes.com/us/terms-and-conditions. As set out in our General Terms and Conditions, the content and posts in this forum are for general information only and are not intended to, nor do they, constitute legal or other professional advice or services or a recommendation to purchase any product or service or a recommendation upon which any specific decision should be made. The information and content made available in this forum should not be relied on as a substitute for proper professional advice. We accept no responsibility for any reliance placed on information or content provided in this forum or otherwise through our websites or services.