We've all had those kids. Or the good kids with those days. Here are 6 tips for helping THAT class or lesson or day go smoothly and leaving you and them still happy.
1. Know your students names! How can you expect a kid to listen to you if you don't even know who they are? They can tell when you care, and caring enough to know their name is just a start.
2. Get your teacher voice on. Or teacher look. If you don't know how to do it, watch shows or examples in your life. Learn how to say "cut it out" in a nice way that lets kids know that you are serious. Personally, I have a look that I give. Don't just laugh it off, but don't be mean about it! There is a balance and it takes practice. But practice works.
3. Use all learning types to affirm correct behavior. Tell them when they are doing the right thing, listen to them if they have a problem with what they are trying to do (they may be afraid, bored, tired, etc.), have them watch you or a friend do the station, or my favorite, walk them through the station! The owner of the gym I grew up at taught me when I first started junior coaching how important it is to put your hand on a kids upper back to guide them. Athletes tend to react better when they are placed in correct positions as opposed to being told what to do.
4. Always have a plan. A well thought out and planned lesson (with back-up ideas!) goes a long way to helping class management. Crazies can tell when you don't have a plan and they will come up with their own plot if they sense a faltering leader.
5. If something isn't working in the plan, change it! Don't stay on that station if it is making you and the kids frustrated. Try a different skill set, or an obstacle course to redirect the energy to a positive one.
6. End on a high note. No matter how frustrated you may be, make sure the kid still knows you care. Express concerns if there was lack of listening and why it is important to listen in class (safety first!), but then say something along the lines of "I am so excited to do gymnastics again with you next week with your listening ears! Can we turn them on right now for mom/dad? (go through motions of turning them on and high fives for that kinesthetic affirmation)
Have some favorite tips you like to use? Send me an email or video at firstname.lastname@example.org