Teachers have a lot to do in any given class.
There are lots of administrative things that need to get done.
There are many different students with many different needs.
Unexpected things come up.
It is not unusual for students to have to wait around a bit during class.
The waiting around though can become a major problem.
Many classroom management issues occur while students are waiting around.
Bored students are creative students.
They will come up with something to do if you haven’t given them anything. Some will come up with something even when you have.
Students start poking each other.
They steal pencils.
They crawl on the floor.
They pick their noses.
They put their heads down and go to sleep.
They doodle in their textbooks.
Even the most mundane things are interesting when you are waiting around and bored.
Many of these behavioral issues disappear when students are occupied.
Just keeping your students busy can be enormously helpful for classroom management. Decreasing down time between activities, getting more students involved during activities, and giving them things to do while they are waiting all reduce behavioral problems.
When you are planning your classes, consider how you can keep all your students busy all of the time.
Here is a list of 8 common situations where your students may end up waiting around too much.
The goal is to reduce the amount of time students are waiting or change the activity so that they aren’t waiting at all.
- When switching between activities
- When asking questions to the class and individual students are answering
- When the teacher is talking and there is no student involvement
- When students are taking turns reading sentences from a textbook or story
- When the teacher is helping a struggling student
- When students work in groups dominated by one or two individuals
- When some students finish an assignment more quickly than others
- When the teacher is unsure of what he or she wants to do next
Got some ideas about how to reduce the amount of time students are waiting around?
Share in the comments below!