Nothing strikes fear in the heart of a new teacher more than the first day. “What will they think of me?” “Will my lesson plan work?” And worst of all, “Will I be able to handle the rowdy ones?  From this moment on, your success as their teacher will depend on your classroom management skills.

Here is the most important point: The best discipline technique is one that your teenage students don’t recognize as discipline. They should behave well simply because that is the way of your classroom. The next few sections will show you how to achieve that.

Let there be no mistake, young teens will test you. There is nothing wrong with that. After all, they are being forced to spend the next few months with you. They have every right to put you through your paces to prove your worth. Where most new teachers fail is in thinking that the test begins with the first girl making a rude remark or the first boy throwing a wad of paper. No. The first test will surely come within the first 90 seconds of the class. You must know how to recognize it and how to handle it.

The experience described in the section, “A Lesson from Summer Camp,” taught me that kids need and want structure. You begin building that structure on the first moment of the first day. It will provide both you and the kids with a sense of security. Once the structure is there, you can really teach and gain their respect. Then, as the days unfold, you can let them know you as a person. Many will come to like you, too. The order is not flexible. First you lead, then teach, and finally befriend.

Go to A Lesson From Summer Camp

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A Lesson from Summer Camp

When I was going to college, I had a summer job working as a YMCA camp counselor. Every two weeks I got a new …

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Anxiety All Around

As the first few middle school kids trickle in, you would do well to reflect on the moment. This is a time to dwell …

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Anxious Woman

You’re Not In Control — Yet

Student anonymity Seating chart tactics Nicknames The room is full of kids now. Some are even in the front row only because all the …

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Young Businessman

The Non-Judgmental Stare

After all your students are seated in their assigned seats, and you’ve gone around checking their names, return to the front of the classroom, …

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Now You Are Their Teacher

You will probably want to spend the first few minutes telling them something about the class. No doubt you will have to cover procedural …

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time and date

Your First Lesson Plan

Rigid control now Make it too long While I’ll devote another section to lesson plans, it needs to be said here that your lesson …

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Should You Start Off Hard Or Easy?

They’re more confused than you think Who will they blame Egress If you give homework on the first day, make it very simple and …

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Summary of the First Day

1. Have your students sit in assigned seats. 2. Walk from one to the next asking for their nickname. 3. Don’t start class until …

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