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Classroom Management | Teaching Strategies

How to Conquer Classroom Management Problems as a 1st Year Teacher

June 28th, 2016 | 4 min. read

Bri Stauffer

Bri Stauffer

For nearly 10 years, Bri has focused on creating content to address the questions and concerns educators have about teaching classes, preparing students for certifications, and making the most of the AES curriculum system.

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At Applied Educational Systems, we work with many secondary CTE and elective teachers. Some common concerns we hear from these teachers are centered around classroom management problems. This is something many teachers struggle with, but it’s even more of a challenge for those who did not have formal education for teaching.

The CTE and elective areas are unique in the sense that more teachers, unlike academic, come from industry without getting a degree for education and most haven’t done student teaching!  As one CTE Director put it: “Our first year teachers who come from the industry are in shock when they are hit with all of the pressures and challenges of teaching.”

Classroom Management Issues: A Struggle for First Year Teachers

This topic was part of the #EdChat Twitter chat in April 2016, and was then further discussed in the podcast: Classroom Management Problems: Who, What, Why?

What I found to be very interesting is that many teachers were never taught about classroom management - even when attending college for secondary education. These teachers have degrees in education and struggled with classroom management problems during their first year of teaching (sometimes longer!):

"Between undergrad & grad school never had classroom management course. Would have loved it #edchat" -- @ShannonMStark

"@ShannonMStark Agree! As a sub and now an undergrad, I would love some insight on classroom management! #EDchat" -- @cnseeley

"@cnseeley I feel you! I was a sub for 2 years, now a sub/teacher. Still trying to figure it out. Especially w/ middle & high school #edchat" -- @ShannonMStark

"@JenBearden @tomwhitby curious (as newer teacher) to find out what your 1st  year taught you/what you learned over the past 15 years? #edchat" -- @ShannonMStark

"@ShannonMStark @tomwhitby Biggest thing is that college taught me nothing about management. Have to learn that in the trenches #edchat" -- @JenBearden

Imagine CTE and elective educators with no formal training, a more diverse student body, and often no teaching materials trying to learn how to manage a classroom on the job! This is one large reason CTE administrators see such high teacher turnover. So what can be done to help these first year teachers better manage their classrooms in order to better teach about the industry they love?

Over the years, we have worked with many CTE and elective teachers in their first year of teaching. Each instructor had their own classroom management problems, but found a solution to this difficult situation.

Real-Life Classroom Management Problems and Solutions

First Year Teacher Classroom Management Problems

Tamara Melton

Tamara Melton worked in the business industry her whole career. After retiring, people encourage her to get into teaching and she became certified as a CTE teacher. In her first year, she was hired 2 weeks before school started. The previous business teacher left her with no lesson plans, projects, or instructional materials. Finding Business&ITCenter21 was very helpful - Otherwise she would have had to research and create her own content, giving her less time to focus on learning good classroom management.

Paige Shoup

Paige Shoup was an ER nurse before she began teaching Health Occupations at a Technology Center. She applied for a teaching position at the suggestion of a friend, not knowing what to expect. Paige struggled to meet the needs of her diverse students, especially those who were slower to complete work. By using HealthCenter21, Paige and the other teachers at Kiamichi Tech Center are able to tailor the curriculum to better engage students.

Janet DeAngelo

Janet DeAngelo was a stay at home mom for 12 years before becoming a business education teacher. Luckily her administration wanted her to use something web-based to teach, which led her to find Business&ITCenter21.  The digital lessons, hands-on projects, and immediate feedback on questions help to keep her students engaged and on task.

Philip Sweeden

Philip Sweeden became a new computer applications teacher mid-way through the school year. He had previously taught History, but never an elective course. Philip uses Business&ITCenter21 as his curriculum. The curriculum has made teaching a new topic much easier, by providing ready to use lessons. The courses help Philip stay organized and manage his classroom better.

Classroom Management Tips for a 1st Year Teacher

In the later part of the Twitter #EdChat, some of the teachers shared thoughts and tips for any teacher struggling with classroom management problems. I hope you find them encouraging in your endeavor to overcome these issues:

"I think that providing context for lessons, clear outcomes, and energy in general can bring a culture of engagement.#edchat" -- @mattsajn

"A well-managed classroom involves a culture of trust and building relationships - and then leads to engagement.#edchat" -- @averyteach

"@RafranzDavis Exactly. Putting time into lessons, and showing passion about actually teaching students shows respect to them. #edchat" -- @mattsajn

"Help ALL students connect your content to their world. Retention will increase when they find that personal connection. #edchat #k12" -- @SpecialtyEDU

"@wmchamberlain No matter how long you've taught, good teachers are always learning, Ss continue to amaze and challenge. #edchat" -- @lookforsun

For more ideas on how to improve your classroom management, check out this article: 8 Wildly Successful Classroom Management Strategies