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Importance of students lining up

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by melbgirl86, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. How important is it that students are quietly lined up before you take them into class? I am a primary supply teacher and I've tried all of the following approaches:

    1. praising students who are lined up quietly, then walking up and down the line and telling individual students that we are waiting for them

    2. praise students who are lined up, then shout at the top of my voice to try to get everyone to line up

    3. waiting until most of the students are lined up, then take all of them in. If students become too noisy/ haphazard, I will either stop in the hallway and ask them to line up again OR take them straight into the classroom and calmly tell them they need to line up quietly next time to get ready for class/that I expect more from them next time

    For the most part I've alternated between #1 and #3 and found both approaches to be fine. (I guess being a supply teacher, though, I often feel like I should be trying to impress principals so I think I place more emphasise on lining up than I should.)

    However I sometimes teach in a tough school and all 3 approaches don't seem to work! Either way, I take the kids in, spend ages trying to settle them down and don't get much work done.

    I've noticed their regular teachers use #2 which works for them but my voice projection isn't as good as theirs (their teachers are older males and I'm a young female). Once I tried sending in half of the class who were lined up and asked the other half to wait outside but this didn't work at all.

    I think lining up after recess is a good strategy to calm down students before they enter the classroom - anyone have tips on how to do it with a difficult class? Next time, should I simply praise the ones who are lined up, take the class in and blow up/shout at them? Should I use a whistle?

    Advice is greatly appreciated!

  2. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    When I did supply I liked to get them in the room with a task to do as quickly as possible. To that end I would either have a question on the board or a sheet for them to fill in. I would ask any pupils not behaving sensibly to stand next to me for a few seconds to calm down.

    I found lining them up more trouble than it was worth as you get into confrontation with pupils in a very public way before the lesson has even started. Also if there are a critical mass of pupils who will not line up then your authority is undermined before you even get in the door.

    There are also lots of buildings where lining pupils up is completely impractical due to the building or the number of pupils in the same place at the same time.
  3. I think the main reasons for lining them up are to establish that YOU are in charge and so you can greet them individually as they enter. If this proves to be a trigger point then it is a good idea to act as if you don't care and let them in (with a greeting for each child) and establish control as Bigkid says by setting a task for them to get on with immediately. Good luck with this
  4. Thanks for your replies!

    I should add that I teach in Australia where kids often line up outside in a designated area after recess and lunch. It must be different in England? To be honest I much prefer it when they come into the classroom themselves.

    I've found when I take art lessons, asking individual kids to remain lined outside the classroom for a few extra minutes (while the rest go in) works well as kids enjoy art and don't want to miss out. But this obviously doesn't apply when I am taking a class to church for a school mass...
  5. I like your advice Bigkid, I will try it. I think it would definitely work with most classes and in most scenarios.

    I guess the worst thing though is when you have to walk a line of kids down a hallway, past other classrooms, and they are making a lot of noise. Which is why I like them to be settled before we start walking.
  6. EmmyCD

    EmmyCD New commenter

    Another strategy is to let the kids who are standing sensibly into the room first with a Do Now task (like a mini starter) to do. They will settle. You can be standing in the door so you can keep an eye on both groups. You can then deal with kids who are taking longer to settle.
  7. Wait patiently and if individuals are talking, if they don't stop when you look at them, say, if you can't line up sensibly then you are welcome to practise with me in your own time. As no child would want to miss out on break or lunch time.
  8. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Here's the short cut: any kid who fails to line up properly gets a detention. Repeat this process until it sinks in, and believe me, it will. It's fun to lark around, and if the only consequence of doing so is watching you blow your stack for a few seconds, then what's to deter? The mathematics of misbehaviour are simple. Make it more painful to misbehave than it is to behave, and watch them fall into line, pardon my pun.

    Good luck


    Read more from Tom here on his blog

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