Classroom Management

TA Responds to Passive Aggressive Behavior

Submitted by jfishe10 on May 28, 2014 - 12:24pm

Passive aggressive behavoir can be particularly challenging to respond to. It may also seem less serious than outright aggressive behavior. However, if allowed to continue, passive aggressive behavior can foster an uncomfortable classroom environment for yourself and your students. See how one TA responded to passive aggressive behavior from one of her students below. Notice that this TA asked one of her mentors for advice on how to handle the problem. Don't be afraid to speak with your professors about how they might respond in a similiar situation.

General Thoughts and Tips on Conflict Resolution

Submitted by jfishe10 on May 28, 2014 - 10:45am

One of the many issues that new teachers most fear is that of how to deal with conflict in the classroom. It is the instructor’s responsibility to strive to create a mutually respectful learning environment. At times, however, situations arise which make this ideal state of affairs impossible. What should be done if a student becomes aggressive, either verbally or physically, or bullies other students or even the instructor? How can such a volatile situation be dealt with in a professional, cool-headed manner?

What to (and not to) Wear

Submitted by jfishe10 on May 28, 2014 - 10:39am

In Dressing the Part, we talk about recommendations for dressing professionally your first day, or even your first few days, of class. But what about the rest of the semester? Should you still be wearing a tie during finals week, or is it okay to dress more casually? While the answers to these questions will largely depend on your personal preference, the tips and advice below can help you decide what to (and what not to) wear.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Submitted by jfishe10 on May 28, 2014 - 10:33am
"But once I realized the problem was not you, but within me, I found inner peace. And was able to harness the flow of the universe." – Shifu, Kung Fu Panda 2

Okay, so maintaining the flow of your class isn't exactly equatable to harnessing the flow of the universe, but there is something to be said for finding an inner calm while you teach.

The "I" Statement

Submitted by jfishe10 on May 28, 2014 - 10:33am

If you're like me, you're probably wondering what we mean by "the 'I' Statement." When I first heard of this concept, I had no idea what it meant either. Yet, the "I" statement is a common tool that many of us use all the time---in fact, I just used it to introduce this post. By using my own initial confusion about the "I" statement as a frame for the possible dilemma you (as the reader) may be experiencing in trying to understand the term, I (hopefully) encouraged you to continue reading by implying that you are not alone in confusion and that a solution is possible.

Go with the Flow

Submitted by jfishe10 on May 28, 2014 - 10:32am

A class is made up of so many elements—the teacher, the students, the room, technology—that the unexpected is bound to occur. Learning to anticipate, accept, and even benefit from these unforeseen moments can make you a more dynamic instructor. The following are great tips to help you go with the flow.

Location, Location

Submitted by jfishe10 on May 28, 2014 - 10:28am

Believe it or not, the way an instructor occupies a classroom space sends volumes of unconsciously received communication to students. Thoughtfully locating oneself within the room is a great tool for encouraging specific kinds of student behavior. For example, instructors often lecture while standing in front of a projector screen or white board, and sometimes become so comfortable there that they rarely shift position. To change things up, try walking between student desks or around the back of the room as you talk.

Noise Control

Submitted by jfishe10 on May 28, 2014 - 10:27am

A common complaint of new TAs centers on noisy classrooms. In general, students quickly get to know one another, which is great, but this can lead to an unwanted level of social “chatter” in the classroom that can disrupt important lectures, discussions, or student-led activities. If your class starts to get too noisy, here are some management techniques to try:

Encouraging Class Participation

Submitted by jfishe10 on May 28, 2014 - 10:25am

As an instructor, you will inevitably have some classes that are quieter and less willing to participate in class than others. It is important not to take this personally---a myriad of factors can effect a student's willingness to participate, from the time class is held (early morning classes are often quiet) to the subject matter (a Chemistry major may feel less talkative in an English class) to the student's personality (you may simply have a class of shy students).