Student expectations for beginning teachers: Managing a well-behaved classroom can be challenging and beginner teachers may be apprehensive about student behavior. With well-established strategies, however, new teachers can ensure their students behave appropriately.

Student expectations and goals

Newly-qualified teachers often have idealistic goals and they may expect a lot from their students. Whilst it’s admirable to set the bar high, it’s important that students and teachers have realistic and attainable goals to work towards.

How to maintain a well-behaved classroom

Instead of worrying about losing control of a class, newly-qualified teachers can ensure they’re prepared for unexpected disturbances or sudden changes to lesson plans. By keeping some grade-appropriate tasks on stand-by, teachers can draw on them whenever they need to. If students are allowed to become bored or are left without anything to do, it can lead to poor behavior. By ensuring pupils always have a task to get on with, teachers are more likely to hold the students’ attention and maintain a well-behaved classroom environment.

Keeping control of the classroom is key to successful teaching and it’s something all beginner teachers are concerned about. In order to show students who’s in charge, some new teachers start with a strict, authoritarian approach but there are other ways to maintain a well-behaved classroom.

What is the importance of high expectations for students?

Although students should accept the teacher as an authority figure, this doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly and approachable as well. Involving students in classroom decisions can show you value your pupils, for example, and it may mean students are more likely to cooperate with instructions when they’ve had a role in the decision-making process.

What are a few common expectations for my classroom?

Students should know what’s expected of them and new teachers should feel confident telling pupils what type of behavior is appropriate.

Even basic rules can be reinforced and beginner teachers can clarify their expectations by setting out rules for the classroom, such as:
  • Wait until you are dismissed before leaving the classroom
  • Arrive at class on time
  • Use an indoor-voice
  • Show respect for other students
  • Stay in your seat unless asked to move
  • Be respectful to others
  • Submit assignment on time
  • Help other students when it’s appropriate to do so
  • Take an active role in class discussions
  • Follow the teacher’s directions
  • Work quiet and try not to disturb other pupils
  • Raise your hand before speaking in class
  • Respect school property
  • Come to class prepared

Student success

All teachers are eager to see their students succeed but grades aren’t the only way to determine success. New teachers may get caught up in delivering the curriculum and working in accordance to lesson plans but it’s important to get to know students too.

By getting to know students beginner teachers can identify their strengths, weaknesses and interests. As well as creating a good working partnership, this helps teachers to provide the appropriate assistance and encouragement to pupils, and will help them to manage their expectations of students too.

Management skills and techniques

Students should be able to work independently and teachers should be mindful to help pupils develop self-management skills throughout their education. Although students can benefit from working in pairs and participating in group activities, independent learning is the key to on-going success and should be encouraged at regular intervals.

How to manage your classroom

School policies and schedules differ so it can take time for teachers to become familiar with school-specific practices. Some schools make have school-wide policies regarding break and lunchtimes, for example, but others may stagger breaks so that different grades are free at different times.

Beginner teachers aren’t expected to remember numerous school policies immediately so you should always ask a colleague if you’re unsure of lesson times or break times. Whilst most students will know this, they may not always give you an accurate answer so it’s best to rely on a fellow staff member!

As new teachers become familiar with school-specific routines their time management skills will become even more pronounced. This can make classroom management far easier as students won’t have free time at the start or end of class and they won’t feel overwhelmed by too much work if you try to plan too much content for the lesson.

Having control over your classroom

Having control over a classroom doesn’t mean implementing a long list of strict rules and regulations. If there are too many rules in a classroom students are likely to forget them and this will lead to persistent rule-breaking. Even if pupils don’t intend to misbehave or breach regulations, the on-going cycle of rule-breaking, discipline and punishment is likely to be discouraging for both teachers and students.

Instead, new teachers can manage a well-behaved classroom by setting out simple rules to govern behavior. By implementing basic routines and encouraging students to manage their work within these rules, new teachers can help students to become independent learners whilst also ensuring they behave appropriately in class.

Maintaining student expectations

New teachers may worry about keeping control of a classroom but there are a variety of ways teachers can keep students on track and maintain a well-behaved classroom. Working with students, implementing basic routines and creating a supportive and nurturing classroom environment is an ideal way to approach classroom management and should ensure beginner teachers take control of the class from the outset.