A “perfect” class doesn’t just happen.  It is created through consistent, compassionate, and well-planned classroom management strategies.

Here are five tips to help you get started!

Tips for better classroom management.

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When you’re studying to be a teacher, you dream of a classroom filled with eager, well-behaved children enraptured by your carefully-crafted lessons.  Then you step into your first classroom…and quickly realize you need behavioral strategies — ASAP!

Procedures = Classroom Management

Get your hands on a copy of The First Days of School by Harry Wong

I read this book every year at the beginning of the school year. It reminds me of key classroom management techniques (and the book is chock full of them!).  The author stresses that you teach procedures first — from passing in papers to entering the classroom.  These things matter!

We are often so interested in starting our content work that we want to start the year there. But taking time to teach procedures will pay off in the long run!  

Try this:

Think about the procedures that make your class run smoothly.  What do you want students to do when they enter your classroom?  What are the routines that you’ll consistently apply to classwork?  

Make sure students know and understand those procedures.

Practice them!

Just a few rules

Have a few simple rules.  

More rules = more confusion.  

A simple class rule like “Respect yourself and respect others” covers a huge amount of territory.  The beauty of a simple rule (or class mantra!) is that you can remind your students of it in one sentence.

If kids are acting up in the hall, “Respect yourself and others, Class” is a quick reminder that there are other classes working or we keep our hands and feet to ourselves.

Try this:

Allow your students to help you establish your classroom rules.

Create a huge list, and then ask your students to consolidate the list into five rules.

This is such a great learning opportunity. Students can work with a partner to categorize rules. It also helps them understand what actions fall under the umbrella of something like “respect yourself and others.”

Teach the rules

Teach the rules — repeatedly.  

Just because your classroom rules are on the wall doesn’t mean the students will follow and understand them.  

Try this:

Ask students to brainstorm what the rule looks like when students are following it, and what it looks like when students aren’t.  Perhaps keep a running list on your wall of ideas your class comes up with.

You can even make this a mini skit your students act out.

We know repetition is important for learning.  So, come back to the rules again and again throughout the year.  

It only takes a few minutes to refresh the concept — especially prior to times like holidays, parties, special programs (or thunderstorms!) that increase the likelihood of inappropriate behavior.

Classroom management + you

Respect your class.  

Look into the face of each child who walks into your room and acknowledge him or her as a unique, precious human being.  A child of the universe.  The future.  

As teachers, we have the truly awesome (and I mean that in the literal meaning of the word!) privilege of having these children in our care.

Need help with classroom management? Check out these 5 simple tips.

How do you respect a child?  

If you’re not familiar with Love and Logic, you should check out this amazing resource that teaches how to build respect with simple words and actions.  At the core of Love and Logic is empathy.  

If you stay empathetic to students, you will respect them.

Ask for help

Even though your superpower may be teaching…you are still human.  

And you will have “kryptonite”  that will throw you off your game — a student that gets under your skin, a day you are tired and lose your temper, a lesson that falls apart.  

But the beautiful thing about teaching is that every day is a new day.

Find a mentor teacher who has that magical ability to keep her class calm in spite of the first snowflake of the season, bees in the classroom, unexpected visitors, or fire alarms.  

Ask that teacher for help.  Teachers are a very generous bunch!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your team or administrators.  If you are truly struggling with behavioral problems, don’t wait.  

You don’t want to dread coming to school everyday in anticipation of a class being hijacked by behavioral issues. Small problems and habits can quickly take on a life of their own.

Let me know what you think? What are the best classroom management tools you use?

6 Comments on 5 Tips to Better Classroom Management

  1. The First Days of School is a great book. Mine got misplaced at some point, so I need to buy another copy. Great post! I enjoyed reading it.

  2. I love tip #4!! Students knowing we care and respect them makes the rest of classroom management (relatively) easy. All your tips definitely come from a veteran teacher who knows her “stuff”! 🙂 Thanks for the terrific reminders!

  3. Great tips. The one about fewer rules is so true, too many are tough to remember. Also important to keep reminding them because they don’t look at the rules that are on the board unless they’re reminded to. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I love tip #5. As a new teacher I found it so intimidating to ask veteran teachers for help. Now that I’m one of the veterans I realize Is should not have been intimidated at all. Teachers LOVE to share, it’s part of our nature. Veteran teachers totally dig on the compliment of being asked fore advice or help. Ask away – you make actually make someone’s day. Great post!

  5. I like how you incorporated the students into classroom rule-making. This is actually a good tip because they will be the ones to brainstorm the house rules they will be using throughout the school year.

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