3 ways to become a calmer teacher and control your class
We get it: teaching is difficult. We’re all human and we’re subject to the complete range of human emotions. Just like in any job, they might sometimes boil over. But teaching isn’t like any other job in one key respect – teachers are role models, and children are particularly sensitive to anxiety and fear in the classroom, especially when teachers become irate and aggressive.
That’s why it’s always good for teachers to develop coping strategies to remain calm when teaching, even during the most disruptive class. We’ve discovered some tried and tested techniques that help teachers to stay focused and reflective. Let’s take a look at them
1. Deep breaths and counting in the mind
We’ve heard some teachers advocate counting to ten, but in the real world you probably won’t have that long to enter contemplative mode. But the moment you feel yourself about to crack, get into the habit of breathing in hard, then counting slowly in your mind as you exhale and actively let your body relax.
What does this do? You might not realise it, but when you’re stressed, you’ll be tensing all sorts of muscles in your body, particularly in your chest. Focusing on releasing the tension as you breathe out naturally takes the edge off your muscle tension and returns you to a more relaxed state. You can also use the time to think of a quick defusing response.
2. Remember that the issue can be dealt with later
During moments of tension, many teachers remind themselves that the response doesn’t have to be delivered immediately. Making a note of the issue and continuing with class minimises disruption and gives both teacher and offending pupils time to think. Then at the end of the session, the disruptive children can be kept back and a proper, constructive discussion can take place.
This can have the added effect of letting the child know they are on notice. It’s like getting a yellow card – they’ll often be on their best behaviour for the rest of the class.
3. Don’t let children see that you’re irate
We can probably all remember the teachers who were easily provoked from our own school days. And sadly, we probably also recall that it just led to more provocation. No matter what’s boiling inside, remain visibly calm, make sure you smile and don’t raise your voice, and use the two techniques above to see the situation through.
Controlling behaviour in young pupils isn’t easy, but methods of controlling a class must include as much carrot as stick. Using rewards to control a class, for example, can pre-empt trouble. If pupils in a class stop and think about the consequences of bad behaviour, and just half of them stop themselves from misbehaving, you’ve halved the problem. And since trouble often ripples out from a single source, you may cut it out altogether.
Our school rewards token system has proved itself to be a positive step towards better behaviour in schools up and down the country. Take a look at what’s on offer and choose the size that’s best for you.