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If you commonly hear the words You're being too nice or toughen up you might be taking a second look at how you run your classroom. A nice person by nature, you may not want to change how you do things, but something has to change. Your students are not listening the way you would like them to, or maybe it is becoming hard for you to keep order.

What are your options?

What Makes An Effective Teacher?

It is important to find a middle ground between being kind and being firm. In order to be one of an excellent teacher, you should be personable, understanding, and fun. However, you should not take this too far, as being a pushover is where you will begin to have problems in your classroom.

When an issue comes up, deal with it in a kind but firm way, so that your students feel comfortable approaching you, but know that you mean business.

Your students should respect you before they like you. That means you need to earn the respect of your students before worrying about whether or not they like you. If they respect you, chances are they will also like you.

Remember, you are a mentor, not a friend. While it is important to take an interest in the lives of your students, and be available if they ask to talk to you, you need to do so as a respected mentor. This means you should not put yourself on their level when guiding them. Do not speak to them as if you are talking to a friend.

On this topic, it is important to note that while you should not consider your students to be a friend, it is alright to talk in a friendly manner. Ask questions and have an engaging conversation, but do not try to talk using similar wording to how your students talk.

In addition, keep your expectations high. Believe in your students as well as their abilities. The minute you lower your expectations your students will begin to lower theirs. However, if you believe in them and what they are capable of, that support will help them to subconsciously work harder.

Classroom Management

Perhaps one of the biggest downfalls of ineffective teachers is a lack of classroom management. This begins on day one of the school year. If you cannot control your students, you cannot be an effective teacher.

So how do you learn to become a good classroom manager?

Begin by having clear expectations for your students. Students are better able to learn when they are aware of what is expected of them. In order to do this, they need to know what their teacher is looking for, in terms of participation, presentations and projects, tests, and your grading structure.

In order to accomplish this and earn the respect of your students, you should outline what you will consider to be positive and negative behavior, and discuss this with your students on the first day of class. Let them know that any unwanted behavior will not be accepted.

In addition, students thrive when given a combination of structure and free time. Your classroom should keep a routine, but also ensure to carve out some free time for students so that they feel they are a part of the learning process.

While it is important to show your students what you expect from them, it is equally important to have clear expectations for yourself. This involves following a routine, knowing what your expectations of your students are, and being able to maintain your sense of humor when things do not go as expected.

Being able to maintain your classroom is essential to being an effective teacher. However, this does not always come easily. For those just starting out in the field, look to a veteran teacher or administrator when seeking out advice and support.

How To Become A Structured Educator

In order to better connect with your students and run a classroom where students respect you, many teachers are looking to find a happy medium between being "strict" and "too nice". This is often called becoming a "structured" educator. In order to find a balance between the two styles, it is essential to take elements of each and make your own teaching style that works for you.

Firstly, a set of classroom rules should be established from the start. While too many rules will cause issues, too few will allow for too much freedom for your students. As such, it is important to determine which rules will help to increase the learning experience.

When a rule has been broken, you should do your best to not yell at the student, but to sternly let them know what has happened and what you expect of them. When the situation has resolved, offering a friendly smile will let your students know you are not angry. Doing so will allow the student to realize they have done something wrong, but that you as the teacher still like them.

For those students who cause a real problem in class, take them outside the room to discuss the situation with them. It can be counter-productive to reprimand the student in class in these instances.

Remember, it is okay for students to have fun. If there is an activity going on in the classroom which results in laughter, that is fine. If, however, that laughter becomes overly loud or you cannot quiet the students, then it is time to stop the activity and bring order back to your classroom.

In addition, it is important to interact with students on a personal level. You should be available before class for students who arrive early to talk about whatever is going on in their lives. You could also talk to students who finish their work early in class. Talking with students is a great way to show you are taking an interest in their lives.

In order to be a structured educator, it is important to remember to be fair and balanced concerning the rules you set, while at the same time allowing enough freedom in your classroom to let your students be themselves. Remember, no matter how many students follow the rules or how many students like you, what is most important is what the students have learned and take away from your class. This is the ultimate goal and your personal teaching style should reflect that.

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