Hmm…Well, don’t wear jeans. In other words, don’t look like a student. When you’re only a few years older than the students, they can’t help but feel more comfortable with you, and when they’re comfortable with you, they sometimes assume you are one of them, best to not look like them. I like to add the always fashionable lanyard to my everyday wardrobe (okay, it’s totally nerdy). This accessory tells parents that I am, in fact, not a student, which is something I get mixed up as on weekly, if not daily, occurrence. Also, adding extra keys and whistles (whether useful or not) totally boosts your authority.
I would also suggest giving out a classroom management plan to all parents prior to school starting if possible, or as soon as you can. If you lay out your rules and expectations to the parents and get them on board, the students will be. Parents will especially question your abilities as a new young teacher, and if you don’t have a solid foundation set in place that they’re aware of, they won’t respect you and therefore the students won’t. Because everyone knew how I personally would deal with situations before they occurred, I wound up with more respect from the students than a lot of the other teachers.
Be especially “mean” on the first day of school. After my Spanish classes finished their finals this year, they all came to me and said, “Wow Miss At, we thought you were so mean and scary at the beginning of the year! You pretty much yelled at us on the first day about how you were not our friend, you were our teacher. And how we better not try and add you on Facebook, ‘or else.’ We thought the year was going to be baaaad.” Turns out it wasn’t. It’s a lot easier to be tough and then loosen up than it is to be a push over and then expect to have authority and respect later on in the school year.
Speaking of respect, show your students how much you respect them and care for them. It’s such a vital age, and they already think no one cares. If you show them you think they’re important and worth your time and energy, I promise they will bend over backwards for you!! It’s amazing the power you can have…KIDDING! But really, I’m still amazed at the things my students were willing to do for me just because I treated them with the respect they deserved. Doesn’t seem like much, but too many teachers forget.
Finally, I would say, laugh. Laugh everyday. Find the humor in the little things, because if you don’t, you’ll die. There will be those HORRIBLE days, where nothing amuses you, but at least try to crack a smile and a giggle. It will help you, and will help your students a lot too. Oh! And write down all the crazy things they say, cause you will forget, and you will regret it.
Enough with my ramblings. Hope this helps just a tad!