Some teachers, perhaps reacting against the harshness of the old “sit up and shut up” classroom, take a laissez-faire attitude toward student restlessness. While it’s good to encourage children to volunteer opinions and ideas, no classroom should be an anarchy. Give the kids too much license to do as they please, and you’ll become at best a supplement to a rowdy and popularity-dominated mob of students, with no one really learning much of anything.
Effective teachers know how to manage a classroom so students have freedom to express themselves—without the insecurity of being turned loose with no boundaries. The best classroom management techniques involve understood “contracts” between teacher and students, where everyone knows the fundamental rules and the consequences for violating them. Then a teacher is rarely caught in the uncomfortable position of having to quell a scene by making a scene.
Some details of classroom management vary, but the following principles always apply:
Do get to know the kids’ caretakers—not just to have a “higher authority” for reporting problems to, but to better understand students’ individual needs and concerns. Ideally, allow parents to periodically sit in on classes. They may have observations that will make you an even more effective teacher!