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We asked teachers in the BuzzFeed Community for their best tips and tricks of the trade, and here are their responses!
1. Take the time to tell each and every student "hello!" as they walk into your classroom, so you get a sense of where they are emotionally that day.
2. Make a point of calling kids what they want to be called, including their rapper name.
3. Wear your preferred pronouns on your name tag. Whatever your gender, making a point of stating your preferred pronouns can make it safer and more comfortable for others to share theirs.
4. Remember that you can’t help students unless you build a trusting, friendly relationship first.
5. Don’t hold a grudge against a student for something they did the day before, and never take anything personally.
6. Be consistent with your rules, especially at the beginning of the year.
7. Part of getting to know your kids is staying up-to-date with what they're interested in so you can use it in your lessons — which could really help them remember concepts.
8. On the first day of class, assign an "I wish my teacher knew..." in-class essay, or set up a year-round jar with some sticky notes.
9. Help a student calm down by sending them on a quick walk break away from the classroom, disguised as a helpful errand.
10. Give students who like to talk out of turn small jobs or tasks they can do for you.
11. Structure your sentences as expectations, instead of requests.
12. But don't be afraid to let yourself laugh!
13. And if you don't know something, or realize you made a mistake, there's no harm or shame in admitting it.
14. Give students a dedicated place to park their phones during class, so they aren't even the least bit tempted to get distracted (by that, anyway).
15. If you can't take phones away but you spot them out anyway, cut down on the temptation by stapling them up in a cheap brown paper bag.
16. Or use positive reinforcement — in this case, extra credit — to help your students learn to resist the need to check their phones.
17. Send home at least as many positive emails/calls/texts as you do negative ones.
18. You can even use happy phone calls home (or to a coach or other adult whose opinion they deeply value) as a positive reinforcement tool.
19. And when you do have to call parents about negative behavior issues, help them feel like you're all on the same team.
20. Set up a student center that kids can quietly go to whenever they need something (tissues, pencils, erasers, a pencil sharpener, a hole punch, and so on) so they don't have to interrupt class to ask you for something. And include a "While You Were Out" bin to manage handouts and assignments when students are absent.
21. Love that idea, but struggle to keep that stash of extra pencils stocked? Grab a few magnets from the dollar store to create a sign-out system on your whiteboard.
22. Use a finished work basket (it could have separate file folders for privacy, or clothespins with students' names) so no one can make excuses about whether they turned something in — it's the student's responsibility.
23. Use fabric as the background of your bulletin boards. You'll waste SO much less butcher paper and the one background can last for years on end.
24. If your school allows it, have some flexible seating available to help students be completely comfortable during class.
25. And at the end of the day, figure out what deeply inspires you to be a teacher, and tap into that whenever you need a lift.
26. Hang up a tap light to help students understand when it's okay to raise their hand to ask to use the restroom or get a drink of water.
27. Try ClassDojo, a free classroom management system that includes all kinds of resources, like staying connected with parents, allowing students to post "stories" of their work, and giving students personalized feedback.
28. And check out GoNoodle, a free site with all kinds of follow-along videos to get students dancing and moving around whenever there's a moment of downtime.
29. To get students' attention and calm them down when everyone's talking, try a countdown with a twist.
30. You could also try randomly writing a few of the students names down on the board.
31. Or enlist the help of a wireless doorbell to help everyone refocus on you.
32. Talk quietly and use limited eye contact when addressing those tough middle school behaviors.
33. Create a mini economy and your classroom will run itself! Kids will be genuinely motivated to earn class dollars to buy prizes from the class store.
34. Even little rewards, like a paper gumball in a jar, can go a long way.
35. Save kids' graded papers, and if they want to review or correct them, make sure you eventually get them back. And generally try to have paper records or at least notes of, like, everything.
36. Consider Google Classroom if all your students have laptops, which lets you do things like create a classroom calendar and manage assignments.
For even more tips (specifically classroom organizing and decorating tips and ideas), check out 35 Classroom Tips And Tricks That Teachers Actually Swear By.
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Note: Some responses have been lightly edited for length or clarity.