Your Daily Checklist For Effective Classroom Management

Perhaps more than any other profession, teaching requires you to be mentally prepared before the heavy lifting of the day begins.

If you’re feeling hurried, stressed, or distracted in the moments before the students arrive, teaching can be unforgiving—particularly in the area of classroom management.

This is why it’s important to spend a couple of minutes every morning reminding yourself of the core classroom management principles needed to effectively lead your classroom.

I created a checklist to help you.

Reviewing it every morning will put you in the same, consistent state of mind and guard against making the mistakes that lead to unfocused, inattentive, and misbehaving students.

Your Daily Classroom Management Checklist

Before your students arrive in the morning, shut your classroom door and allow yourself a few minutes of privacy.

Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

Now remind yourself of the following:

Smile and enjoy your students.

The more likable you are, the more leverage you have with your students and the easier classroom management will be. Greet your students with a smile, tell a joke or two, and enjoy teaching them.

It’s okay to have fun and love your job.

Stay calm.

Far too many teachers let students and certain circumstances get under their skin and, as a result, react emotionally to misbehavior. Set yourself apart from the pack and don’t be one of them.

A troop of kangaroos could bounce through your classroom, but you will remain the picture of poise.

Take your time.

When you rush, you create nervous energy in your classroom, making students excitable and prone to misbehavior. A good rule of thumb is to never speak or move on to the next activity until every student is quiet and looking at you.

The great basketball coach and teacher John Wooden was fond of saying, “Be quick but never in a hurry.” Keep your lessons and transitions sharp and moving, but with an efficient, deliberate pace.

Be specific.

Tell your students exactly what you expect from them. Be clear and direct and then get out of their way. Give your students a chance to meet your expectations without micromanagement.

If at any point you become unsatisfied with how they’re fulfilling your expectations, have them do it again.

Enforce every rule.

Follow your classroom management plan and enforce every rule violation. It doesn’t matter who the student is or what their situation, understanding that poor choices have consequences is a critical lesson for all students.

By strictly enforcing your rules, you’re merely requiring behavior from your students that is necessary for success in school.

Don’t react, respond.

Decide that yelling, scolding, lecturing, arguing, and sarcasm won’t be part of your classroom management repertoire. These reactions cause students to distrust and dislike you and lead to more misbehavior and less leverage.

Instead, respond by calmly following your classroom management plan.

I encourage you to print out this checklist and run through it each morning before your students arrive. I’m certain you’ll see a difference in your students’s behavior as well as your enjoyment of each day.

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11 Responses to Your Daily Checklist For Effective Classroom Management

  1. Marcia Marques June 29, 2010 at 3:27 am #

    Congratulations! What a wonderful discovery! I came across this site by chance through the Busy Teacher and it is amazing. Keep up the good work!

    • Michael Linsin June 29, 2010 at 7:07 am #

      Thanks Marcia!

  2. Tristin November 8, 2012 at 5:25 am #

    Hi Michael,

    I have recently started our classroom behaviour management plan in my grade one room. I have found it very helpful but I have two quick questions for you.
    1. What if a child refuses to go to the timeout area?
    2. What do you do if after the note home consequence the child continues to break the rules? Thanks for your help!

  3. Anna May 6, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    Thank you, Michael, for all your insightful articles. They have been extremely helpful all year long. Especially the one you posted this week about reminding students of our classroom rules and expectations even if it’s the end of the year.

    • Michael Linsin May 6, 2013 at 10:35 am #

      You’re welcome, Anna!

  4. Edwin August 10, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    Its a great to be here in this very inspiring website… You have thought me alot. I was able to transform my bad things to good ones. I hope that you will continue to inspire us (teachers), not just teaching the students from the book but to our hearts..

    • Michael Linsin August 10, 2013 at 9:00 am #

      Thanks for your kind words, Edwin! I’ll do my best! 🙂


  5. Abbie McCracken August 20, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

    I printed this out & posted it next to my desk — so nice to breathe, smile, and start the day re-reading this.

    • Michael Linsin August 21, 2015 at 7:35 am #

      Excellent Abbie! Good to hear.