Classroom Noises Arise in Many Ways
Here's What You Can Do About It!

There are so many kinds of classroom noises; from ones you can definitely stop immediately to ones that you have no control over.

I personally didn't mind certain noises in the classroom - as long as it was productive noise.

Of course, when there was work to be done, or a test or project to be completed, my students knew that there was to be quiet in the classroom.

I was also quite happy when that particular work was done, since total silence for a long period was extremely eerie for me as I preferred small undisturbed rumblings.

The classroom noises that I mentioned that you have no control over and are unpredictable include, continual announcements on the P.A. system, students knocking on the door either wanting something or giving something from another teacher, fire alarms, etc. (I think you get the idea of what I mean.)

In my role as a evaluator of student teachers, I have visited numerous classes over the last several years and have experienced many occasions of teachers handling a noisy classroom .

In some instances, I could barely hear myself think. Some teachers don't mind noisy classrooms; from electric pencil sharpeners being constantly used, to desks and chairs continually moving, to students speaking to each other across the room.

And then of course, there is the extreme opposite - where the only classroom noises that you will hear is the ticking of the room clock or the occasional cough or sneeze.

There definitely has to be a happy medium where you and your students work in a successful and productive environment.

I always had an "open door" policy where anyone and everyone was welcome in our classroom. If it was too noisy in the hallway or from another classroom because their door was open, I would speak to the students or teacher involved and the problem would be solved or I would just shut my door.

I love listening to music. After teaching an art lesson, the music went on (my students would bring in CDs) and my door would be closed.

If a party was happening in my room I would make sure to close my door as well.

Socialization is crucial in developing the dynamics of your class and to me these are just two situations of many (e.g. group working together for a common goal) that create good, constructive noises in the classroom.

But, then on the other hand, if all students are working and one student is bothering another by whistling, tapping their pencil, ruler, etc., that shouldn't be tolerated.

If that occurred, my students knew to use the "I message". If that failed then the student told me and I would step in to resolve the situation.

Often, I just had to look at the disruptive student and use a non-verbal strategy (shake my head "no"). When the student stopped, I would smile and mouth "thank you" and hopefully that did the trick.

Classroom noises arise in all different ways and it's up to you and perhaps your students to decide how to live in a happy and productive environment.

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