I will never forget my first time going to WrestleMania as a kid. Wrestler after wrestler and match after match, I waited to see one person. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson! I will never forget the sound of the crowd as The Rock walked out and slid under the ropes into the ring. He stopped, looked into the crowd and gave his famous signature look—the people’s eyebrow. He commanded the whole room.
I once stayed home from school because I was “sick” so I could practice this famous look. It’s served me well as an educator. Yet, it’s not the only way The Rock has inspired my teaching. I believe The Rock has some amazing classroom management ideas. Here are my top nine.
1. Pump yourself up for tough days.
Good classroom management starts with attitude. No, not your students’ attitude, your attitude. If you want your students to listen to you, you have to start with the right attitude. The Rock suggest that you find your favorite song or playlist and pump yourself up before the day starts. If our attitude is where it should be, we can better help students correct issues with their attitudes and behaviors. The Rock gets pumped for his day. You should, too.
2. Find your signature teacher look.
I hope you saw this coming. This is a classroom management idea that gets passed from teacher to teacher almost like a ritualistic rite of passage. To control a classroom, you need to develop a good, strong, teacher look. It would help if you were 6’ 5’’ and 260lbs like The Rock, but your look will do just fine. Get in the mirror and practice.
3. Give clear instructions.
Often times, we misunderstand defiance and confusion. All of us have given unclear directions. And on a bad day, that might mean punishing a child who is just trying to understand what we want. The Rock reminds us to give clear, concise directions that all students can understand and execute.
4. Always follow through with discipline.
It’s easy to relax and start to let “little things” slide in the classroom just because it takes too much energy to deal with it. Follow through with consequences on the front end to maximize time on the back end. Word of warning: Just don’t give a kid the “people’s elbow” or a leg drop. You’d likely get fired for that.
5. Call parents frequently.
One of the greatest ways to manage a classroom is to get parents involved. I realize that every kid does not have supportive or present parents, but reaching out is still worth a try. Call parents to both celebrate and reprimand. It will go a long way in getting students to respect and listen to you in the classroom.
6. Always enforce school policies.
School policies exist for the good of every teacher, administrator and student. Either we all enforce them or no one enforces them. Take dress code for example. If you enforce your school dress code policy but the teacher down the hall does not, students realize that our faculty may not be a team. It also makes you look like the mean teacher! The Rock does not condone being the mean teacher.
7. Develop an effective quiet signal.
During activities you need a good quiet signal to get students back quickly so you can move on. Your goal should be for the room to be completely silent in 3-5 seconds. I have just ordered a life sized cutout of The Rock so he can be the threatening figure in the room while I give my signal. (This shouldn’t be confused with #2, though, you can use them together for optimal success.)
8. Be an observer.
Watch everything. Students normally misbehave when they think no one is watching. They are still learning to have integrity. Until they have it, watch everything you can. The best way to do this is to do what I call, “Working the corners.” From the corners of the room, you can see most, if not all of the room, without having to turn your head. If students know you’re watching them, they have a heightened sense of awareness as well, and they have to be good listeners.
9. Command the room.
This is your house! Just like The Rock commanded the ring, you command your classroom! Pumped up? You should be! Say it with me, “This is MY house!” Students should never question who is in charge. The Rock is always in charge. You should be in charge of your classroom, too!
What do you think, teachers? What other classroom management ideas can we take from the world of wrestling, sports, or Hollywood? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.