5 simple solutions for common teaching problems
Hey teachers. I know what you’re thinking because I’m having the same thoughts right now: “Man, I sure do wish there was something that could help me fix the problems in my classroom.”
No luck? Me neither. That’s why I created this blog in the first place! Here in one convenient spot, you’ll find five simple solutions for the most common teaching problems, all ready to be implemented in your classroom tomorrow.
I’m sure you’re just itching to get started, so let’s get down to business. Here’s what we’ll cover today: how to make your students more active during lecture-style presentations, how to stop talking about concepts for an entire class period, how to get your students to think while you lecture, how to stop your students from asking for permission to do simple tasks, and finally, why you should never assign homework.
Let’s get started!
Make students more active during lecture-style presentations
This is the easiest of the solutions, which is why I saved it for last (the best solution at the end, as always). The basic idea is to get students out of their seats and moving around during lecture-style presentations. Here’s how it works:
- So this one’s pretty easy. Once you’re done lecturing your content, ask your students a question about what you just covered. Once they’ve collectively decided on an answer, have them tell you the answer in unison. Now split students into groups of four or five and have each group solve a simple problem related to what was just covered. Finally, have students return to their seats and remind them that you will be checking their work individually during class tomorrow!
- Students talk back, make defiant remarks or act out in class when they are not doing well academically—especially if the student is in over his head in a subject. If you have assigned your students to write an essay in class, but after writing it they realize that their original topic was impossible to cover in the allotted time, what should you do?
- If a student fails to turn in an assignment, give them a zero and don’t move on. If they want to discuss why let them know that their priority is turning it in and then you will talk about it after school or during lunch. If they continue to fail to turn in assignments, start giving them zeros – even if they ask for an extension.
- if you’ve given them multiple zeros and they’ve finally turned it in but did not do very well give them another zero for turning it in late. This may seem petty or too harsh to some people, but this strategy has worked wonders for me every time I’ve used it. The reason for this is that students will often act out when they are not academically up to par because they know their poor performance will affect your attitude toward them. The other benefit of this strategy is that the other students in the class won’t have to suffer due to a student who isn’t doing his/her share of the work.
- It can be extremely draining to constantly correct students in class, both for you and your students. Most teachers are not paid enough money to be professional behavior managers, so they end up paying too much attention to one student who causes problems when they should instead be focusing on the entire group. One solution to this is to create your form of class rules and consequences (outlined below), tell the students what’s expected of them, and let them govern themselves. This method has worked for me with both younger children (grades K-3) and older ones (mostly grades 9 & 10). The rules and consequences should be posted in the room where you teach, but also presented to your students verbally. Afterward, follow through on whatever consequence is listed next to each infraction.
Usually present the rules and consequences the night before we start working together so that it’s fresh in their minds and I give them a day or two to think about them before acting on anything. I will usually write the consequences down in a list when things are calm after introducing these rules, but this is not required if you do not wish to do so.
We found that when children put their limits on themselves, they learn self-control and respect much better than if they are constantly lectured or corrected.