Stop Unwanted Teaching Interruptions

2 Ways to Stop Unwanted Interruptions While Teaching

Sometimes we have students that seem to interrupt us while we are teaching no matter how many times we’ve reminded them to wait. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a whole class lesson, a guided reading group, or an individual conference with another student. I’ve found 2 ideas that can help signal when it’s an appropriate time to come up and talk to you.

Now I want to explicitly state that these ideas are only for unwanted, non-emergency interruptions. We want our students to feel like they have a voice and that they can confide in us or ask us any questions they might have. We also want to be a safe space for our students if they have concerns or worries. However, there is also a time and a place for asking certain questions, telling stories, or making comments.

1. Red and Green Signal

ask teacher a question

These posters are a great way to signal to your students when you are available and when you are busy and can’t be interrupted. The red and green coordinate with traffic signals and should be familiar to your students. This helps your low or non-readers as well.

Please Wait I'm Teaching

Print out both pictures and place them in a double-sided frame. I got my 2-sided frame from Ikea for around $1. The frame was the Tolsby Frame for 2 Pictures. The pictures measure 4×6.

When you are busy and cannot be interrupted, flip the sign to red. When you are available to answer questions, you can flip the sign to green. It’s a great visual reminder to not interrupt you when you are busy with your students.

To download and print these pictures: We can email them to you, or you can download them from the ‘Files’ section of our Create-abilities Teacher Community Facebook Group. If you haven’t joined the group yet, it’s a great way to stay up-to-speed on everything Create-abilities, including product announcements, sales, freebies, live broadcasts, giveaways, and more!

2. Please Wait…I’m Teaching Light Up Sign

Please Wait I'm Teaching Use a light box to create a sign in your room. You can flip the switch when you are teaching or busy and the students will see that it is not the appropriate time to interrupt you. When you are available, you can turn off the light. This light box works particularly well when you are running guided reading groups. It’s easy to turn off and on at your table and it shows up well even when all the classroom lights are on.

You can find the light box and the letters I used below.

* Lightbox with 90 interchangeable letters, numbers, and symbols

* Colored letter, number, and symbol tiles

Both of these ideas are great visuals for your students to know when it’s an appropriate time to come ask a question or make a comment. They can help cut down on the interruptions that occur when you are trying to teach.



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Cassie Tabrizi
Cassie Tabrizi
After being in elementary education for 14 years, and as founder of Create-Abilities, Cassie is passionate about helping fellow educators empower their teaching.
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