How do I handle classroom management?
I am currently a third year college student and I will be student teaching next winter semester. Whenever I work with children, I feel like they see me as a friend and not someone who they should actively listen to during learning. I work with preschoolers, aging from 2 to 5. How do I get my students to listen to me and how do I calm down my classroom when things get too chaotic?
I was also a preschool teacher in the summer and the way that I calm my students down when the environment is a bit chaotic is to use a system. For example, "1,2, 3, eyes on me" or use the clapping system where they follow your claps back to get their attention.
It's also important to balance being a friend and being respected in the classroom. Your students need to learn what your boundaries are, so it's important to set them before you begin your class.
From the start, address what is and is not acceptable. You're working with much younger kids so you may need to be even more explicit and more repetitive than me, but constantly showing them where you draw the line will help them understand how they should interact with you. To make it feel less repetitive, have a poster or some icons on the wall that you can point to if a kid is crossing the boundaries and becoming too friendly.
Another tip I learned is openly calling out behaviors you want to see. Example "I see that [name] is settled down and pulling out his notebook. I see that [name] is already writing the date at the top...". This seems minor, but kids love to be the focus of the teacher's good attention. Good luck in your first years! It will be a lot of little tweaks.
When things get too chaotic, I always make sure to have an "attention getter." I use a plug in doorbell and ring it when my students are getting too noisy or off task. This tells students that it's time to pay attention and refocus. Some students may ignore this at first (especially older ones), so I always reward students who follow directions quickly.