How Administrators Can Support Teachers with Classroom Management


Administrators and Behavior Management

Looking for elementary classroom management strategies?

Behavior and classroom management can be hard for any teacher. It is easy to want to send students to the office for misbehaving, but is that the best management strategy in the elementary classroom? We talk about why it is important for teachers to handle behavior in their classrooms, as well as when to ask a principal for help or send a student to the office. In addition, we share some ideas for handling common misbehavior in the classroom.

What to look for in this post:
Why it is important for teachers to handle misbehavior in the classroom
An administrator’s perspective on classroom management
When to call in an administrator to support classroom management
Strategies for behavior management
Classroom management scenarios

If you prefer to hear us talk through this, here is a video featuring all of this content:

[1:02] Why it is important for teachers to handle misbehavior in the classroom

When a teacher calls someone else in to handle behavior management, they give up control. The other person is now in control of the situation, and they will make decisions about the consequences.

It is also more time efficient to keep behavior management in house when possible. You can decide whether to deal with something in the moment, or to have a conversation with a student at a later time. It is less disruptive to your class if you can handle behaviors in your room, which means there is more time available for learning.

[2:09] An administrator’s perspective on classroom management

Clint was an assistant principal in a very large elementary school. Some teachers never sent students to the office, while others sent them to the office daily. He was able to see which teachers were in control of the classrooms, and who relied on someone else to handle discipline. If you want to impress your administrators, try to handle as many things in the classroom as you can. Doing this will lead to several benefits related to learning time and respect from your students.

Quote with classroom image as a backdrop: If you want to impress your principal, try to handle as many student behavior issues as you can in the classroom before calling the office.

In Clint’s experience, teachers with good behavior plans in their rooms and strong relationships with their students experienced fewer discipline problems - even with those groups of students who were infamous for behavior issues.

Of course, no plan is perfect. No teacher is perfect. Everyone deals with behavior issues at times. While many things can be handled in the classroom, everyone needs a break or experiences something that escalates to the point where it is appropriate to call in an administrator.

[5:06] When to call in an administrator to support classroom management

Any time drugs or weapons are involved, it is appropriate to bring in administration. If you find pornography or other inappropriate things on a computer or device, that information needs to go straight to the office. Students who get into a fight should be sent to an administrator, because the consequences for that kind of behavior tend to be more severe.

If you are unsure, we recommend asking your principal or assistant principal when they would prefer to be involved versus what you can comfortably handle in your classroom. They should be able to provide a clear list of circumstances in which you should definitely bring them in.

You can also reach out to your administrators if you feel like you are struggling with behavior management. They can come observe and provide suggestions. You may also want to speak with the teacher from the previous grade to see what was helpful for specific students.

[7:20] Strategies for behavior management

When a student would be sent out of a classroom, Clint suggests giving them time to cool off. Do not talk to them when they are still upset or angry. If you can wait them out, let them come to you when they are ready to talk. They often have their own reasons for the misbehavior, and they will share when their emotions are not so heightened.

An administrator can also take them on a walk around the school, to talk or to complete some small jobs. That can allow them to open up more, and it gives them a chance to tell their side of the story. When they are outside the classroom environment, they may be more receptive to conversations about what happened and what they can do differently in the future.

You can do something similar in the classroom, as well. If a student is misbehaving, you can get close to them and let them know that you will have time to talk about it soon. It gives them a calm warning, while also letting them know that they will have a chance to discuss what is going on. If you have good relationships with your students, they will be more receptive to these conversations.

[10:28] Classroom management scenarios

Students who are fighting should definitely be sent to the office. If someone is shoving in line, however, that can often be handled in the classroom. You can tell the students that you are going to speak with them during recess or lunch - and you will be surprised how quickly they decide they want to work it out and become friends again.

Similarly, students who are bickering in class can be pulled aside for a conversation. Alternatively, they can write about what they were doing and how it was disruptive. If you have students who continuously clash, it makes sense to separate them from one another. The more you can do on the front end, the better off you will be.

When students are blurting out answers or interrupting class, it can sometimes be helpful to just give them the attention they are seeking. Once all the eyes are on them, they may realize they didn’t actually want all of that attention.

If your students are not completing their work, there is often not much an administrator can do. We can make phone calls home, but we cannot force them to do work. You need to check with administration before threatening a student with recess or lunch in the office, because they may not be able to follow through if administrators have other plans during that time. You don’t want to make threats that you can’t follow through on.

Pull in administrators when you need to, but we hope you are more empowered to handle student misbehavior in your classroom as well.

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