Classroom Tips

Your Citizen Schools staff partner will provide support around behavior management but we have compiled some additional tips and tricks to make your apprenticeship as successful as possible.


QUICK TIPS:

a citizen teacher volunteer is holding a large piece of paper that has nutrition facts written on it.  he is pointing to a worksheet that a student is working on while other students are working nearby.

a citizen teacher volunteer is holding a large piece of paper that has nutrition facts written on it.  he is pointing to a worksheet that a student is working on while other students are working nearby.

This is not a comprehensive list, that is why we've provided you with these outside links, your co-teacher's expertise, and training, but here are a couple quick tips on classroom management.

Always assume the best: There isn't enough empathy in our world at the best of times but practicing and modeling it with your class will gain you respect, trust, and have positive consequences even out of school. If one student is always talking with her friends, is it because she dislikes you, or does she learn best by talking through ideas? 

Listen and ask: Tweens and early teens are experiencing an incredible amount of physical and mental changes- as much as babies!- and they aren't always able to effectively communicate or process what they are feeling or thinking.  If you listen and ask questions for your own understanding, students will see the regard you show them and in turn respect you.

Don't shout: Keep your tone friendly and neutral if you need to correct a student's actions.  If you need to get the whole class' attention during a loud period try the "clap once if you hear me" tactic or other methods your team leader has shown you.


GENERAL CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT RESOURCES:

Delivering clear directions allows students to follow with accuracy and focus.

Many past Citizen Schools volunteers have expressed their apprehension over speaking to a group of potentially rowdy pre-teens.  Your co-teacher will be there every step of the way to help keep the classroom calm and productive, but heading off rambunctiousness before it even gets going is most effective. The best way to do that is make sure you feel confident about your ability to manage.  Here's a bunch of pieces from experienced educators across the internet.  Explore the sites they're on too.


TYPICAL MIDDLE SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT:

a group of students are walking on a sidewalk and looking like they are having fun.  two girls are the center of the composition.  the two are looking at each other and have big smiles. They are clearly friends and laughing together.

a group of students are walking on a sidewalk and looking like they are having fun.  two girls are the center of the composition.  the two are looking at each other and have big smiles. They are clearly friends and laughing together.

Looking back to your early adolescence, I'm sure you remember the cliques, gossip, and total discomfort with your own body and emotions.  Thankfully those memories fade but the students in your apprenticeship are right in the middle of that hormonal hurricane and that affects their behavior in interesting (and sometimes frustrating) ways.  Here are some resources that explain what is happening inside the 11-13 year old brain and body and how to utilize that in learning and classroom management.

a group of kids are laying on the ground with their heads in a circle smiling at the camera.

a group of kids are laying on the ground with their heads in a circle smiling at the camera.