Safe Classroom Environment

classroom respect
Student safety always comes first. Fights and lab safety are critical, but this page focuses on the more nuanced part of a safe science classroom. Your safe classroom environment has many different aspects that work in conjunction with each other. These include classroom rules, consequences, procedures, respect, your attire, and a tidy room. This page will cover rules, your attire, and the physical aspects of your classroom.
  • Teaching Respect

    Respect is a difficult word to define because it means something different to each person. If you want your students to be respectful, you must model respect. It may not be easy to get high school or middle school students to be respectful in your class. It's almost guaranteed that they will not be respectful if you are not respectful. You cannot be a hypocrite.
  • Try to say only positive things about people. Stop students from gossiping about other students. Creating a safe classroom environment is difficult when slander is present.
  • Try to make all your students feel like they are an integral part of the class. Every student is different; there is no need for you to point this out. If a student wants to share how they are different, that is ok, but pointing it out yourself can cause unintended problems.
  • Try to be consistent with your rules. An example would be: if Johnny can't wear his bandana, Sally can't either.
  • Try to say please and thank you when making requests. Students might be shocked by this and might see it as a sign of weakness, but you are modeling correct behavior for your classroom.
  • Try to get the parents involved in the positive things their child is doing. When parents are invited to come to school, they will remember the positives of your class. The more you integrate the parents on the positive aspects of your class, the more likely they will support you when discipline issues arise. Student presentations during class time to their parents, like an in-class science fair where students present their projects to their parents and other students is great. Student presentations to an entire audiance (20+) is much more stressful than a small audiance (4 to 5). You can achieve this with a timed science fair, where 8 groups present at the same time for within a 10 minute window. Parents and students wonder during this time and listen in to presentations of their choice. Once the time is up, the next group of students present. You could even control when parents / student rotate if you want it less open ended.
  • Try to go to every meeting regarding your students, especially IEPs. Responding to parent's phone calls and emails promptly is important but time consuming. Using a website where students and parents can access password protected grades or homework assignments can help time management.
  • You should have easy to remember classroom rules. Try to keep each rule to no more than five words, and there should be no more than five rules. Create a large sign with your rules and put it where every student can see it. The idea is that the rules are both easy to understand and easy to remember. They should not repeat the school rules, since all students should be following those already. Example, "be on time" is not a good rule since once the students are in class; this rule no longer applies to them.
    • Student centered classroom rules may include:
    • “No food, drinks, gum, or edible items”   This rule works well since not all teachers have consistent rules for edible items.
    • “No sexual, drug, violent or inappropriate topics”
    • “No swearing, vulgar, or offensive language”
    • “Show respect: teacher, others, room, and yourself”

    • Other less student centered rules include:
    • “Raise your hand to speak”
    • “Stay on task and in your seat”
  • Rules do change from teacher to teacher and should be used to enhance your teaching style and classroom environment. If a student breaks the rule, write their name on the board and they have to stay after class to talk to you. Save your classroom consequences for after class.
  • Student Confrontations

    Before doing anything else, ask for advice from the vice principal when working with potentially aggressive students. The placement of students who do not get along with each other is critical to a safe classroom environment. When creating a seating chart, place students who are aggressive toward each other on the polar opposite sides of the room. Remember to place the friends of the two students in areas far enough away that they will not be tempted to provoke a confrontation. If the students cannot behave themselves in your class, you must get help from the office. You need to create a safe classroom environment for all students.
  • Classroom Set-up & Organization

    Maintaining a clean and organized classroom communicates to your students that you are a professional. Students might think your disorganization is the reason for their lost papers. The degree of cleanliness and organization is up to you, but it is important for all school supplies to be put away so that they don't become a danger to you or your students. This is especially true for science lab equipment.
  • * Disclaimer: Before implementing any ideas from this website, please first consult your principal to make sure they are in compliance with state laws, district and school procedures.
  • " We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. "

Management Rule #4

  1. Every student is engaged in the curriculum.
  2. Classroom procedures create consistency
  3. Check for understanding
  4. ngss life science apple logo Create a safe classroom environment using respect.
  5. Use classroom consequences to correct wrong student behavior.
  6. Use the tone of your voice and body language to communicate.
  7. Academically challenge every student.
  8. Easily get your students' attention.
  9. Use a classroom seating chart.
  10. Increase participation by using collaboration.

classroom environment