Classroom Management Tips for Post-COVID Back to School
With the ongoing challenges of COVID, classroom management will be much different than in previous years. Dealing with the challenges of returning back to school during a pandemic has its own challenges, but it is also important to consider ways you can set your students up for success when it comes to behavior during this challenging school year. Here are some classroom management tips that will help your students get settled and ready to learn.
Recognize the Trauma of School Closure
It’s vital to recognize that school closure has impacted your students in different ways. For some students, staying at home was a relief, while other students lack basic necessities. Some children may have experienced sick friends or family members, or their parents may be out of work. It’s important to keep in mind that every student has a different experience outside of school.
Even if life at home is still pretty much the same for your students, the world around them changed. It’s important to acknowledge that at the very least, they missed their friends, socializing, and some of the activities they are accustomed to doing.
Make sure to allow your students time and space to reflect on the last few months. Give them the opportunity to share their stories. Social-emotional well-being is the most important aspect in helping maintain a safe and well-behaved classroom. Good classroom management starts with focusing on mental health and well-being.
Set Up a System to Track Behavior Data and Improve Classroom Management
Before you start the year, make sure you have a place to track behavior data. This isn’t just to list bad behaviors. For response to intervention (RTI), start with documentation of what and when student behaviors occur. Do this on easy-to-use behavior tracking sheets.
With that data, student intervention teams meet to decide the best course of action for the student and if and when testing is needed. This data can also be shared with parents and counselors. It’s all about helping your students get what they need to be successful. Tracking helps you see the patterns in student behavior and find interventions that work for them, which helps you improve your own classroom management.
Student data notebooks also incorporate behavior and goals. When your students are vested in their academic and behavior goals, classroom management gets easier for you!
Involve Parents Early in Your Classroom Management Plan
My most successful classroom management years are when I reached out to parents early during the back to school process. Share your syllabus or a newsletter with both behavior and academic expectations to help you stay on the same page with parents. Parents are much more accepting when they receive communication about classroom expectations from you prior to when you address behavior concerns. Reaching out early helps establish trust and helps get parents and teachers are on the same team.
Recognize Good Behaviors
While you’re planning for the this school year, think of some ways to recognize good behaviors rather than just penalizing students that do not follow the rules. Sometimes simple praise goes a long way. I also find that I see the best results when I start making contacts home about good behaviors early in the school year. Parents and students typically receive phone calls at home when things aren’t going well. Imagine how excited they’ll be when you’re taking time to share some of the awesome behaviors their child is exhibiting in their class!
Don’t limit this strategy to just your perfectly behaved kid. Even if you have a child that struggles with behavior, take time to call or email the parent, and even tell the student in person that you’ve noticed how hard they’re working. Be specific when you share the great, positive behaviors you’ve noticed.
Making the Best of a Challenging Situation
Whenever your students are away from the classroom for extended periods of time, classroom management is different when they return to school. Try these Classroom Management Tips for Returning to School after COVID to help your students succeed in the upcoming school year and beyond!