Classroom Management for High School

Managing a room full of high school students can be challenging, not only because of the varying levels of maturity in students, but also because many teenagers think that they’re adults.

Classroom management, in many ways, gets trickier the older students get. Let’s look at effective classroom management strategies that can help you manage high schoolers.

Encourage Students To Set Goals

One of the best ways to manage high school students is to share power with them. Let your high school students take responsibility for their own learning, starting with goal setting. At the beginning of the semester or school year, have students set individual goals, and perhaps even class goals. Help them adjust their goals so that they’re “right size.” This might mean tamping down the aspirations of the over-achievers and prodding the under-achievers. Whether students achieve all of their goals isn’t even the main point. The biggest benefit of goal-setting is that it encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning.

Give Students Responsibility

You can take student responsibility further by making students “shareholders,” inside and outside the classroom. This might mean having high school students devise activities. Or tutor other students. Or design their own projects and curriculum. You can’t give students unfettered freedom, but you can begin to transfer the responsibility of what they’ll learn from your shoulders to theirs.

Be A Leader

This “shared responsibility” role doesn’t mean that you can cede your role as the classroom manager. With high school classrooms, you have to maintain your role as leader of the class. Yes, you can treat students with respect, but they’re never your peers. If you don’t maintain control of the class, someone else will, and that’s never a good thing.

Treat Students With Respect

While high school students aren’t yet adults, as much as possible, you should treat them as if they are. Give them the same respect that you’d give adults. Don’t talk down to them or at them. Have clear boundaries that you enforce consistently and fairly. Choose your language carefully when offering critiques. Discipline students privately, if you can (in the hallway or after class). Give students autonomy whenever you can, which will help them transition into the responsibilities of adulthood.

Earn Their Respect

Earn your students’ respect every day by modeling good behavior yourself. Be kind, thoughtful, and authentic. Follow through with commitments you make to students, and with rewards and consequences. Apologize when you make a mistake. Don’t threaten students or try to win them over. You’re the adult in the room (you can’t ever lose sight of that!), but that doesn’t mean you have to make your students feel powerless.

Education 4 Equity Online Professional Development Courses

At Education 4 Equity, we have a wide range of online professional development courses for teachers, including Classroom Management: Restorative Justice In Action. We have 1-credit, 2-credit, and 3-credit online courses for teachers that qualify for graduate level credit and have been approved for LAUSD salary points through the Los Angeles Unified School District.