5 Things Every Teenagers’ Teacher Must Do to Excel in Classroom Management

When the subject is teaching teenagers, there is always a cloud hanging over teachers’ heads. This cloud has a name and it is quite a familiar one: behaviour.

As a rule of thumb, when we have a couple of teenagers together in one room, there will eventually be distraction, standing up, talking (or yelling), paper airplanes flying around, among other “issues”. Having these things in mind, in this post I am willing to share five tips that have helped me a lot throughout my career as a teacher.

  1. Build Rapport

When a teacher has good rapport with their students, a positive atmosphere is predominant in class. This is beneficial to both teacher and students.

Start by learning their names and go deeper. Find out:

  • their likes and dislikes;
  • what they do when they are not studying English;
  • the places they go to, etc.

Show your students you are not just interested in their learning of a language, but interested in them as people.

If you get along well with your students, it is very unlikely that they will disrespect you for any reason. It might happen during an outburst, occasionally, but it is much easier to deal with this sort of mishap when students trust and like their teacher.

  1. Have Students Want Your Class

We know that a lot of teenagers are in class because their parents want them to, but we can at least try to build their excitement for content. And “how can we do that”, you ask?

  • contextualize your classes and make the topics more relatable for teens;
  • throw in some games, songs, videos, etc. every now and then;
  • surprise your students by doing something out of the ordinary, such as having a class “outside” or in a different scenery;
  • keep students involved and challenged.

We cannot make them love English, nonetheless we can make the process of learning it more pleasant and less boring.

  1. Model Positive Behaviour

However obvious this may be, it is always important to remember we have to be a model for students. For this reason, make a habit of demonstrating behaviour you want to see.

  • use polite language;
  • maintain eye contact when you address students;
  • keep your phone in your pocket (if you use a tablet or computer as a tool, find a way to let your students know you are not checking your personal e-mail or Facebook updates during lessons);
  • have healthy discussions about problems that need to be handled;
  • listen to them attentively.

Relationships should not be a one-way street and this also applies to the teacher-students relationship. If we want them to behave certain ways, the least we can do is practice what we preach.

  1. Beware of Your Whereabouts

Things like sitting arrangements and the position of objects may be unfavourable during a lesson. Here are a couple of things that are important to keep in mind:

  • avoid having empty seats between students as this may impede communication during pair work activities;
  • (re)arrange chairs and desks before starting games or other activities that involve standing up and mingling;
  • never let a student sit in the corner alone and isolate themselves (shy students tend to do that).

A semi-circle is usually the way I prefer to have students settled because this way we get a good view of the whole classroom, but depending on where you teach, the desks and chairs are a different size or shape and you might have to evaluate your options.

  1. Ask for Feedback

Always have talks with your students. That is right! Teenagers can give feedback, too. Ask them:

  • whether they are enjoying your lessons;
  • if they like specific games/activities you have come up with;
  • if somethings should be changed/adapted;
  • for help to establish guidelines.


Do not fear criticism because it is vital for our professional development. It may be scary having students tell us about these aspects, but it is for them we prepare our lessons to, so they are the best “judges”.

I hope these simple yet practical ideas help you in your daily affairs. If you need a helping hand, do not hesitate to contact me at contato@henriquezamboni.com.br

Thanks for reading! Happy teaching!

Henrique Zamboni has been in ELT for more than 10 years, having worked for different language schools. He holds the CPE and the CELTA, a degree in Letras and a degree in Marketing. He is the founder of Inglês Para Adolescentes, where he is a teacher of teenagers and teacher trainer.

1 Comment
  • Nathalie Argueles
    Posted at 03:00h, 30 outubro Responder

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