You might have heard teachers admit that they do not want to handle middle schoolers. However, if you employ effective strategies for managing middle schoolers, you can make the task simpler than you think with the help of some methods. However, you need to understand the adolescent brain before making any decisions. Science says that the prefrontal cortex of humans is still in the developmental phase when they are adolescents. To explain in brief, this area of the brain is responsible for functions such as decision-making and emotional regulation.
Since teenage minds are pliable, you need some classroom strategies to aid in the healthy development of the student’s minds and bodies. So, here are 10 successful strategies to manage middle schoolers.
Simplify daily class booking and management with an online appointment scheduler like Picktime. Sign up on the app via any internet-enabled device. You can use its free online calendar to display your slot availability for class bookings and parent-teacher meetings. Provide students with the flexibility of self-scheduling classes with an online booking page personalized with a booking button. Link this page to your school’s website to accept quick online bookings.
Create slot-based classes for students and add them all to the classes. You can also permanently save their contact info and booking history in your Picktime account. Collect fees through credit cards and online payment processors like PayPal, Stripe. If you wish to host online sessions, do so with the Zoom/Google Meet integration. Send class reminders to students through automated email and SMS alerts. Evaluate your class performance and check student attendance from detailed class reports available on your Picktime dashboard.
Set up rules and regulations for middle schoolers that help to establish a sense of tranquility and consistency. Adolescents are usually impatient and get angered easily. As a teacher, you need to ensure that you teach model behavior to your students at this crucial stage of life. Ask students to organize their desks, submit their assignments on time, and keep the classroom clean by putting their backpacks away in a queue. Encourage your students to take down questions for homework in a daily academic planner.
After you enter the class, grab the attention of students by saying things like, “Can I have your attention, please?”, “Eyes on me, please.”, and so on. It gives students some time to be alert and settle down in their seats.
At times, students might gossip while the classes are on. However, you would not want to break the flow of the lesson. In such situations, intervene with non-verbal cues like eye contact or hand gestures to prevent the students from talking and disturbing the class. You can also shake your head to show disapproval or walk towards the student and stand beside them.
Before you enter the classroom, make sure your students do not create a ruckus. Keep them engaged in some activities before class like journaling, writing an agenda for the day, or at least if there is nothing to do, ensure that they meditate to freshen up their minds before a busy day.
Encourage middle schoolers to make decisions by themselves to let them make better choices as an adult later in life. Adolescents have a lot of emotions to deal with, and you would not want to overwhelm them with projects and assignments every day. Offer them the choice to decide the projects and assignments they wish to take up. Give multiple options while giving them projects, and the students can choose from them based on their abilities and capacity. Organize peer-learning sessions and collect feedback from students on the lesson plans and classes.
At times when a student does something improper, call them out anonymously and collectively. You may wonder why you should accuse others of a single person’s faults. Understand that middle schoolers have a high sense of self. Hence, do not hurt their ego by publicly shaming them. If you notice anything wrong, say something like “I can see some eyes wandering. Could I have their attention please?”, “I need people in the classroom to stop the side chatter for a couple of minutes, please.”, and so on.
Adolescence is the prime time for maintaining physical and mental health. Thus, talk to the sports coach in your school and organize weekly sports competitions and daily morning exercise sessions for the students. Encourage your students to take up co-curricular activities of their choice like dancing, singing, gardening, community work, etc. Ask the co-curricular activities teacher to guide the students with daily classes in the afternoon.
Talk to your students in a positive tone. Compliment them for the minimal effort they make to keep the class calm and organized. For example, appreciate them for pushing in their chairs after a class finishes, and congratulate them after they win at some competition or score well in exams.
Instead of calling parents to complain about every little mistake students commit, talk to the student privately and make them understand why and how they should be following your directions. Complaining to parents might make the student lose their access to technological devices or personal freedom.
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