As a teacher, you will probably at some point in your career find yourself up against a difficult to manage class, full of unruly teenagers. When you do, don’t panic and don’t get disappointed. A few tips can bring you out of this difficult spot, earn you respect and make teaching much more pleasant for your students and rewarding for you.
To begin with, remember to always keep your teenagers busy. Give them a lot of activities you know they will most likely enjoy and help them fill their time. Have some back up activities planned for the students that finish their exercises and tasks earlier than others. Teenagers tend to get anxious and restless when they have nothing to do, so keep them occupied. When nothing needs to be done, ask them to start working on their homework. No matter what you do, the last thing you want, is to leave them with nothing to do, since that is mostly when they tend to get loud and uncontrollable.
When you arrive to class, dedicate a few minutes in chatting with your students. Spend ten minutes at the start of every class to discuss what everyone did the previous evening, how they spent the weekend, or something exciting they might be looking forward to, one of the next few days. Discuss interests, music, films, sports. After this, move on to teaching the day’s lessons. Once they have seen you are on their side, they will be more motivated to pay attention and won’t feel like causing a fuss.
A change of scenery, when possible, can also make a big difference. Students tend to get tired of being stuck in a classroom for so many hours during the day, especially when the weather outside is nice. Take them outside, and teach the class in the school yard, if it is available. Promise them you will allow them the last 10 minutes to play, if they really try to focus and stay quiet throughout the lesson. Encourage them to participate, and talk to you, rather than among themselves.
All these tips will help you towards improving class discipline and will earn you trust and respect. However, the most important thing to remember is that to earn respect, you need to show respect. For this reason, always treat your teenage students with respect, don’t be sarcastic or condescending, and carefully listen to what they have to say. When you don’t agree, refrain from raising your voice. Rather, stay polite and accepting, and just move on. When something good is accomplished, don’t hesitate to praise.