Student behavior varies wildly by grade level, location, and subject matter. The issues that a 7th grade life science teacher faces will be very different from the issues that an 11th grade chemistry teacher faces.
One of the main ways to combat poor behavior is by having clear expectations. Explaining to students exactly what you expect from them makes the student responsible for themselves and will prevent you from being the "bad guy".
Another way to improve student behavior is to BE CONSISTENT. If you as the teacher are consistent from the beginning of the year to the end of the year with behavior, noise level, and even grading, then the students in your class will adapt to the classroom culture that you have created. But teacher beware, choose your expectations wisely because you must be willing to follow through.
What are your consequence steps and how do you notify students when they move steps? How will you keep track of students' misbehavior? What rewards do you have for positive behavior?
These examples are just a few of ideas to get you started. You need pick a set of steps that works for your class and your classroom culture. Also, don't underestimate the power of a stamp, piece of candy, or free bathroom pass!
Before you have student behavior issues, ask your site administration for the policies and rules for classroom and school wide conduct. Each site will have different policies, so make sure that you know exactly what is expected of you as the teacher in terms of student behavior. BE PROACTIVE!
Another suggestion would be to ask your colleagues for how they would handle the situation or deal with classroom disruptions. Ask your colleagues if you can visit their difficult classes during your prep so that you can observe those strategies that are successful for them and adapt them to fit your classroom and specific needs.
Struggling in silence will not help you solve the problem.
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