11 Ways to Make Your Classroom Feel Safer: Tips for Teachers
Updated: Mar 6, 2022
Classroom safety is a huge concern for teachers, and for good reason. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 1 in 5 students reports being bullied at school. In this blog post, we will discuss 11 ways that teachers can make their classrooms feel safer. These tips include everything from creating a positive learning environment to establishing rules and consequences. Implementing these strategies will help create a safe and welcoming learning environment for your students!
It is critical for children to feel safe and secure in the classroom. Kids need to know without a doubt that the teacher will respond if they are in trouble or if something bad happens. The kids need to feel like you will drop what you are doing when they call for help, even if that situation is between classes when no one else is in the room with them.
How Do You Make Children Feel Safe in the Classroom?
Try to be visible: home base in the classroom
Always try to have a place in your room that is your 'home base' or central location within the classroom, where you spend most of your time with students. This may be at a desk, table, counter, etc. Make it a comfortable and inviting space where they know they can find you easily – and where you know they can find you.
Be a good listener: how to listen and respond to kids
Kids need to know that adults will listen to them and that they won't get in trouble for saying what is on their mind – even if it seems silly or weird. When talking with students, give them your full attention and make eye contact with them. If you are distracted, tell the kids what is distracting you and let them know that you want to continue talking with them as soon as possible.
Be approachable: how to regularly interact with your students
This one is simple – just stay close to your students! Studies have shown that distance can create anxiety for children. Even if it is not practical for you to stay close, at least make it a point to regularly interact with students in your class. This might be as simple as looking up from what you are doing and asking a student how they are doing.
Create familiarity: welcoming students back after a break
Do something during the first week of school that will let them know that you care about them and want to get to know them. You may do this when they arrive in the fall, or when they return after a long winter break. This might be something like having students write about themselves and share it with you (and others), letting the students help set specific rules and routines for your class, taking time to meet each child's parents during open house or parent conferences, etc.
Have clear rules: the importance of posting classroom rules
It is important for students to understand what the classroom expectations are at all times. By having clear posted classroom rules, students can understand what is expected of them and how they should behave. Students need to know that the classroom rules apply equally to all students and that there will be consequences if they break a rule.
Praise kids for following rules: how the reward system changed everything
I am a huge believer in positive reinforcement. I find that when kids are rewarded for following rules, they are more likely to follow the rules again in the future. When a student follows a rule or does something well, make sure you let them know that you noticed and care about their success. Even if it is just a small reward like being first in line, using eye contact to acknowledge them, calling on them first, etc. You may even find that you need to make a reward system for the kids where they earn points toward something special at the end of each week for following rules and doing their best.
8 simple ways to reward students
Give verbal praise