Disclaimer: This article is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of all Teachers' Christian Fellowship members.
Behaviour Management Strategies for High School SRE Teachers
Make the school a priority rather than just one lesson a week. Find out what happens there.
- Get to know the kids in your school and be known by them.
Learn some of their names. Build relationships with the kids not as their best friend but as one of their teachers. Pray over your class lists of students. Get your list a week ahead - in high schools they often come with photos.
Remember that the students are just kids and not the enemy - they don’t usually set out to be nasty to you. There is no problem children but there are children with problems.
Speak quietly to the students so that they have to listen to hear you.
Set out your expectations with students and expect them to reach them.
- Know the School Rules and behaviour expectations of the school.
(You can usually look them up online).This will enable you to refer to them when challenging student behaviour. For example, I thought that X was against the school rules. Phones must be away during lessons and we are not using our phones in this lesson, so you must be wasting your battery life on non-lesson distractions.
Follow the school procedures for the breaking the school rules. Call kids out for the small things you can usually win like chewing gum in class, to establish your authority as a teacher. Use this knowledge not for punishment but as a tool to direct kids.
Know what to respond to in regard to behaviour and what to ignore. Pick your battles and seek help for the challenges. Find out from the welfare or class teacher about disruptive and difficult students in your classes and how to handle them.
- Know the school Uniform Code - parents have helped write this code with input from students and staff. This information gives you more background information to use to establish your authority with students.
- Know the school Welfare Policy - The “chain of command” to refer kids to. “If I mention this to the deputy what do you think will happen?” Who is in charge of enforcing the school uniform policy, etc? Use this knowledge not for punishment but as a tool to direct kids.
- Belong to the P&C, if possible as the community “citizen”. This is where the decisions in a school are often made about scripture and policy. It also gets you known to the involved parents and the principal.
- Volunteer for canteen duty - so that you are seen and known by students, parents and staff. It is a great way to show your service and care towards others as a servant of Christ.
- Volunteer to help on excursions, sports days, school fetes or as a reading tutor again to be known in the school and valued a bit. You will be less likely to be disregarded and scripture seen as expendable. Be a servant of the school.
- Get to know the office people - they are often your first point of contact each week. They are the ones you can ask for class lists and other help.
- Get to know key people - the SRE coordinator, school principal, deputy and other key people in your school so that you can refer to them and they know you to back you up.
- Get your backup support organised.
Stay close to your God through personal Bible Study, prayer and church.
Pray for kids and lessons in advanced.
Get your Bible Study group to pray each week for your classes.
Ask for assistance from all and sundry!
- Be organised and be prepared.
Be flexible and ready to change the lesson if the kids aren’t responding to your prepared presentation. You may need to change your whole approach because you are stuck with last period Fridays.
Be flexible and understanding towards the school if things happen such as the casual teacher takes your class out for sport because they weren’t told that scripture was on. Be willing to be wronged and forgiving.
Karen Davies and Harley Mills