Month: April 2016

How To Manage Cellphones in the Classroom

Technology can be a friend of teachers, but it can somewhat be a nightmare to them too. Especially when a student gets the latest iPhone and brings it to class, suddenly everyone just wants to see it, hold it and feel the luxury phone on their own hands. It’s hard for some to control students that do not want to be controlled. It’s hard to control a classroom when there’s a buzzing sound of a cellphone from time to time.

There are many ways to approach a ‘cellphone-infested’ classroom. By ‘cellphone-infested’, I mean students don’t want to separate from their phones, and you can see them texting or fiddling with their phones from time to time. You can be hard and strict, but let’s face it, that approach will just make them rebel (especially in Middle School). You can just, like how Elsa said it, “let it go”. Let them have their phones, let them text in class, however, that is the ultimate distraction for you, the teacher.

I’d like to help you out. I found these online, and maybe you can try them for yourself. I can wait to try them for my classes too! Here are some cute, fun ideas on managing cell phones in the classroom:


  1. Phone Hotel

Before classes begin, have your students check-in their cellphones into the phone hotel. Each student has his or her own cubby for his or her phone.


  1. Hanging Phone Holder

Same as the phone hotel, but this one can also be your attendance tracker. You’re hitting two birds with one stone on this one!


  1. Phone Prison

Don’t want the liability of “taking care” of your students’ phones? You always have the choice to let them have their phones in class, but state a law that once they get caught using their phones, their phones will have to do some jail time.


  1. Put a Sign

Let them know that you know if they’re using their phones even when you’re not directly looking. Have a fun sign by the door so everyone can read it and will be aware of what you know.


This one made me laugh so hard. It’s so smart!


There you go! See, managing cell phones in the classroom can be fun too. I hope even just one method works for you. Let me know how it goes!


It’s Perfectly Okay to Cry

It’s perfectly okay to cry… sometimes.

For new teachers, sometimes we get so overwhelmed by the workload, classroom management, other faculty members, and most especially by the pressure of:
(1) parents
(2) students who are lagging behind the class
(3) students who are misbehaving
(4) if you are being an effective teacher
(5) if you are a good enough teacher
… the list goes on. There are many reasons why we tend to break down and choose to quit in our first year. Especially teaching in Middle School it can be so demanding, that it depletes your fuel to teach. If you’re in that position, if you’re on the verge of giving up, please don’t.


I know you are doing a great job, you are doing your best. Your students appreciate you and they look up to you. Your difficult students are just misheard. Try to listen to them, they might be telling you something. Reach out to them, be their confidant. Just keep doing your best, teacher! I promise you, all teachers have been there. All teachers have cried in their cars, desks, bed, or wherever because of the overwhelming pressure. You are not alone. Being a teacher is very purposeful. When you see your students grow up to be successful and doing something good in their lives, you’ll realize that you are a part of how he or she is today. It is worth it. It always is.

Classroom Management Strategies for Difficult Students: Promoting Change through Relationships

Dealing with difficult students can be a pain. There are times when it’s too much already that you no longer know what to do for them to just behave. Sometimes you even think if you did something that made them hate you so much.


I’ve read this paper by Mary Ellen Beaty-O’Ferrall, Alan Green, and Fred Hanna, from the website of Association for Middle-Level Education about dealing with the most challenging students. They listed down 3 strategies in the field of counseling and psychotherapy that teachers can learn and apply in their classrooms. It’s a very straightforward paper that is purposely written to help teachers. In this blog post, I would like to summarize the 3 strategies from the paper, and make it easier to understand.


  1. Building Empathy

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the simple definition of ‘Empathy’ is the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else’s feelings.

As a teacher, it is critical when developing relationships that you know and understand the student. Teachers must take the initiative and certain steps to learn and understand each student. When teachers understand and empathize with their students, it will result in the student feeling understood.

Take a personal interest in your students. Get to know them. Understand them so they know that somebody is listening to them. No child is born bad–no student behaves badly just because he or she wants to be that way. There is always a reason.


  1. Admiring Negative Attitudes and Behaviors

Research states that teachers’ actions in their classrooms have twice as much impact on student achievement in several fields. Admiring negative behavior may seem like the thing not to do, but it actually has an effect on the student that will benefit him. There’s a proper way on admiring though. You should acknowledge the negative attitude or behavior as a ‘skill’ and give credit to the student for all the years he or she has practiced the skill. For example, there is a manipulative adolescent girl. You can acknowledge her bring manipulative as the skill to ‘influence people.’ After acknowledging the skill, you will now redirect it. You can say that her skill can be valuable in certain careers such as sales and management. Now the student will be surprised to hear that there is something to admire by her behavior and that somebody understands her. There will now be a bridge of trust between the student and teacher.

All these must be done with sincerity. Any hint of sarcasm can backfire and make the student more difficult to deal with.


  1. Leaving One’s Ego at the Door

This one is pretty simple.

A teacher should not take comments and manipulations of students personally, as a clash between the student and teacher is likely to follow. He should always act strategically, not emotionally. There are patience and practice involved in improving the teacher’s skill to suspend one’s own reaction. Being aware of your vulnerabilities can be redirected it into something good.




Dealing with the most challenging of students can be difficult and requires a lot of patience. These 3 strategies can help you develop a relationship with your students and build trust between you and them. In the classroom, it is critical that teachers find ways of building relationships with all students. Relationship-driven teaching can lead to amazing things.