High school teachers. Today let’s discuss a delicate topic that no one seems to be talking about enough how really difficult it is, yet it is the most essential component of a teacher’s job—and that’s classroom management strategies for high school students.
It’s there for you to tackle every day in the classroom, but ironically it is not formally taught in teacher prep programs leading you to be in full shock when you encounter the real thing.
Teenage angst is real, and teacher stress about it is also real. Classroom management with older kids is not a joke, it’s tough but it can be done.
So without any further delay, let’s go straight ahead into 5 classroom management strategies for highschool students that will help you have a functional classroom without your stress levels going through the roof!
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5 Smart Classroom Management Strategies for Highschool Students
1.) Let them know the class norms and behavioral expectations
Before anything else, this is an important aspect that you need to emphasize and walk your students through in your classroom right off the bat, especially at the beginning of the school year the first few weeks to be exact.
You have to set classroom norms and behavioral expectations first and foremost, and you can do this by hanging a classroom rule poster on your bulletin board where everyone will be able to see it. You can also encourage an activity wherein you’ll be integrating your classroom rules whether in a written form or recitation.
It’s really important for your students to know what is expected of them behavior-wise because this will save you from the trouble of stressing out from distractions and inappropriate behavior that you do not want them to display in class.
You also need to allow them to practice the rules and expectations that you want to set which means you have to practice them throughout the day on a daily basis until your students get accustomed to it until you can trust them that they’ll be able to do it themselves independently.
Doing this will help give your kids a guide on how they need to act and this will also let them know that there are natural consequences if the rules and expectations are not followed—ultimately helping them to learn about the essence of accountability.
2.) Rapport over everything!
You’ll find thousands of strategies online about classroom management strategies but only a few would be applicable to high school, and that’s kind of a bummer, especially for teachers who are in need of reinventing their strategies to keep their classroom functional and succeeding.
It can sometimes feel like a dead end that you don’t know where to go from there especially if you’re a first-time teacher.
One of the most effective and groundbreaking strategies that you can arm yourself with is to build meaningful relationships with your students. This may sound easy to do, but it will require a bit more effort from you.
Your first step would be is to learn their names, this is a crucial move, especially for the first week of school. Try to learn all of your students’ names from day one.
And when you bump into them, whether in the hall or by the canteen, try to greet them including their name. Say something as simple as “Hi, (insert name)!”—treat them like young adults respectfully. Watch how surprised they will be with you knowing their names already.
After that, your next step would be to try to find out their hobbies, what they like to do, and what activities outside the classroom are they engaged in. Be sincere with this, and you’ll be surprised by the outcome.
They are less likely to act up when they know that you know who they are because it only goes to show that you cared enough to learn their names and things that they are interested in.
And kids will love this, I know for sure as many seasoned teachers have shared this technique and proved that it is indeed effective and produced desired results that both you and your students will benefit from.
3.) Catch their attention non-verbally
If you’ve ever been in a situation in the classroom where your students are just bickering away and you really just don’t have the energy to level your voice with their noise to hush them down, then you’ll love this next strategy for your classroom management.
It can be a struggling feat to quiet down high schoolers, especially during idle time in between transitions or when group work ends. As any seasoned teacher will know how noisy it can get in a room full of 20-30 kids.
That’s why teachers like you should start working smarter and not harder, and you can do that by saving your voice and investing in an instrument like a loud doorbell that will aid you in getting your students’ attention when you need to non-verbally.
Students will be instantly alerted that they need to settle down whenever you ring the doorbell and you’ll be able to enjoy a less stressful day in class.
4.) Proximity techniques
I don’t know about you, but if I were to chat with someone and then suddenly someone will stand near beside me steadily like they’re observing me, it would definitely have me stopping in an instant.
And that’s why you should try out the proximity technique, another genius strategy that will help you tackle discipline issues in the classroom without exerting too much energy—and this is a non-verbal strategy too.
If you are ever in a situation where someone in the class just can’t stop squabbling away and you just want to give them a sort of hint that they need to turn it down, simply stand beside them about 2-3 feet away and let them feel your presence.
You can also try out this strategy for students who are doing something instead of starting the task that you have asked them to do.
This technique is great for high schoolers because it is more respectful for them as students compared to asking them and calling their names loudly in front of the class.
This will also give students a chance to self-reflect and yourself a chance to see if they know that their behavior is not appropriate within the class.
5.) Discreetly hand them a note
This strategy is a lot like proximity as a management tool but with an added flair.
For this strategy, all you need to do is casually walk by the student that seems to be having a discipline issue and discreetly hand them a note on their desk indicating a message that you want to say to them.
This will discreetly let them know that you’re tapping their backs and that you’re giving them a warning of sorts. This is a much less negative approach that will also give that student or those students a visual warning.
With that visual warning, they’ll be able to realize that they need to refocus. This truly is a great technique that’s respectful and discreet/ and most importantly, it will not alienate students that are already lacking confidence in the classroom.
You can also ask your students to do the same with you, you can ask them to write back what they need to say and let them know that they can have time with you to talk about it after the class is done.
At the end of the day,
We all know that no classroom is perfect and there will always be a few bumps in the road to student and teacher success, but with the right classroom management strategies and a little patience, you and your class will definitely get there.
One final tip that you need to know is that you have to be consistent. You will be responsible for instilling in them the strategies that you will use to have a positive, functioning, and succeeding classroom.
Classroom management will never cease to exist so it’s up to you how you will shepherd your herd towards where you want them to be.
I hope you found these tips helpful and let me know your favorite classroom management strategy for high school students in the comments below!
Until our next one, and remember it’s the teacher that makes the difference!