The One Thing Standing In Your Way Of Having Your Dream Class

The one thing standing in your way of creating the class you’ve always wanted is believing that you can.

With no shortage of teachers willing to tell you why you can’t—and how naive you are to think otherwise—this is no easy task.

There are also dozens of justifications and excuses right at your fingertips, just waiting for you to pull out whenever you’re feeling discouraged.

The parents don’t care.

My classroom is overcrowded.

There is no support from administration.

I have a challenging class this year.

My students are noisy and won’t listen to me.

I have too many difficult students.

And on and on…

The truth is, no matter where you teach or what your circumstances are, you can have what you want. You can create your dream class. Everything you need, every proven strategy, technique, and solution is right here on this website—with more to come.

But if you don’t believe deep down in your heart that you can, if you don’t think it’s possible for you, then you never will.

What follows is a practical way to put all the doubts to rest and start believing in YOU.

Create a vision.

Think of your ideal class. What would it look like? What would it sound like? How would the students behave? How would they respond to you and interact with you? What would you look like teaching this class? Calm, confident, commanding respect, in complete control?

Now close your eyes and see yourself in this role. See yourself loving your job, enjoying and inspiring your students, and having the most rewarding experience you can possibly have. This exercise may seem silly, but it is remarkably powerful.

You must first visualize your goal before in can become a reality. Keep a sharp image of your perfect class in your mind’s eye and review it daily—both before and after school. Refuse to let it go until you see it manifesting before you.

Eliminate excuses and negative thoughts.

It’s so terribly easy to entertain thoughts of defeat, so easy to wallow in commiseration with colleagues who are all too ready to offer up more excuses than you could ever think of on your own. Indulging in failures and disappointments and conjuring up justifications is as effortless as slipping into a warm bath.

But getting down on yourself is devastating to your dreams of becoming the teacher you really want to be, making the chances of actualizing them next to impossible. When negative thoughts and excuses pop into your head, cancel them out with positive affirmations.

Repeat to yourself, “I can do this!” Then get busy doing it.

Hang out with like-minded teachers.

The staff lounge is a dangerous place. The old adage that you should avoid it is spot on. Unless, that is, your lunch companions are like you and refuse to engage in negative talk. You and I both know, however, that this is exceedingly rare.

Either seek out those on campus who have a cheery, positive outlook on teaching or eat lunch alone in your classroom. When staff members do corner you, and they will, let their venting go in one ear and out the other.

And stay far away from those who bad-mouth, gossip, or criticize students. They will suck the life out of you—just as they do their students.

Choose to like your students.

How you feel about your students is a choice you make that deeply affects your ability to manage your classroom. And if you choose not to like them, or if you allow yourself to become annoyed by them, they’ll know it. It’s something you can’t hide. Negative thoughts about students always bubble to the surface.

To create the rewarding and successful teaching experience you really want, you have to see the best in your students. You have to choose to like them, get a kick out of them, and enjoy being around them.

Having a positive relationship with your students is the difference-maker that gives you powerful leverage to influence their behavior.

Better Than Imagined

Changing your thinking isn’t some silly self-help new-ageism. Our thoughts always go first, leading us wherever we direct them. To a large degree, they determine our success or failure.

By disciplining them, by refusing to indulge in negative, self-defeating thinking, you can make the dreams you have for yourself and your classroom a reality.

We didn’t get into teaching to snivel about students, complain with colleagues, or gin up excuses for ourselves.

We got in it to make a difference.

Decide right now to start believing in you and in that wonderful image you have of your ideal class. See yourself confidently and lovingly inspiring your students to become more than they thought they could.

Never let it go.

With this vision, and the strategies on this website, I promise you’ll get there.

And it will be even better than you imagined.

If you haven’t done so already, please join us. It’s free! Click here and begin receiving classroom management articles like this one in your email box every week.

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12 Responses to The One Thing Standing In Your Way Of Having Your Dream Class

  1. Bill Alexander December 10, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    Hi Michael,

    Brilliant!
    Say it loud and clear – classroom management success starts and ends with us, the teachers.

    I agree it’s so easy to get sucked into a negative downward spiral, especially at this time of year when we’re all feeling jaded at the end of a long term. But if we can keep positive we can keep a sense of perspective that with careful thought, the right information and advice and our uniquely human ability to exercise our will we can find a way to turn around the difficult class or build a better relationship with our students that will pay off eventually.

    I recently worked with a graduate student working towards her master’s degree and one of the questions she asked me was ‘What is the most difficult aspect of classroom management?’ My reply was ‘Ourselves’, for all the reasons you’ve outlined eloquently in this post. Lets all try to keep the faith.

    Well done, Michael – just the kind of reminder we all need.

    • Michael Linsin December 10, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

      Thanks Bill!

  2. Jessica December 13, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    Awesome post! This reminds me of a motto my softball coach used to tell us all the time: “Don’t make excuses, make it happen!” 🙂

  3. Jessica December 14, 2011 at 7:15 am #

    I feel like this website is really a “Bible” for teachers–full of the most important advice you can ask for. I can relate to so many sentiments in this article, being a third year enrichment area teacher. I feel as though approximately 15 out of the 18 classes that I teach are truly “dream classes.” I have put these principles into action and it is amazing what they have done to revolutionize my classroom. I, myself, also feel like a dream teacher, in that I am so much more calm, happy, excited, and proud of my students. I love to create this peaceful learning environment, and I strive to maintain this peace. Sure, my classes are not perfect, there are still times when students misbehave or forget a class expectation, but I have learned so much from this website to help me understand how I can deal with misbehavior in a way that is calm and beneficial for all people involved. I still struggle with a few of the fifth grade classes that I work with, and I was wondering if you had any suggestions. One of the struggles is when students begin whispering to one another when I turn the lights off in order to show something from my projector. Because my projector has a dim bulb and our school does not have it in the budget to reorder more bulbs, I must turn the lights off in order for the children to see anything projected from my computer (powerpoints, short clips, etc.) Some of the fifth grade students whisper to one another during these times; and I am able to hear them yet not able to see who is doing the talking as the lights are out. With one of my fifth grade classes, I am sure that more than half the class begins whispering at times. I have tried to plan many interactive activities into my lesson plans for the fifth graders, as they love to talk–and so I intentionally give them that opportunity during these interpersonal activities. If I could just find a way to enforce consequences for students when they are talking to one another when the lights are out, I feel that this would alleviate the majority of the behavior problems I have. Any suggestions? I have considered asking the class to raise their hand and let me know if someone near them is talking during one of my presentations, as I am not able to see students very well in the dark. And then, I would ask the student who “talking” whether or not they were–then enforce consequences according to your classroom management plan. I was just wondering if you had any other ideas. I would love to be able to walk around the classroom during these powerpoints, however, I need to stay near my computer in order to push the mouse to move onto the next slide. If you could let me know of any suggestions you have, I would greatly appreciate it!!

    • Michael Linsin December 14, 2011 at 7:39 am #

      Hi Jessica,

      I’m glad you like the website! I would suggest taking the time to make a lesson on how to listen, learn, take notes, ask questions etc during your presentations. Show them, model for them, exactly what you want and then practice it. It’s also important to explain why you don’t want them to whisper–how it’s disruptive, disrespectful to others, makes learning difficult, whatever. If it is your only issue with your fifth-graders, then problem isn’t one of respect/disrespect/dislike for/toward you. Thus, it sounds to me like they don’t really understand what it means to sit quietly, or how to do it. Follow the prescription above and I’m sure it will improve.

      Michael

  4. Jessica December 18, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    OMG! I haven’t yet read your reply Michael, but I have wonderful news to share! Less than an hour after posting my post from Wednesday, my principal came into my classroom and announced to me that herself and her husband were going to buy me a SMARTboard with their own money as a charitable Christmas gift!!!! She said that they always try and do one large charitable gift at Christmas, and that they had considered starting a scholarship program for families at the school, but that instead she had felt led to purchase me a SMARTboard! I was in SHOCK! I cannot believe that my principal would spend such a great deal of her own money on something for me 🙂 I was in awe! Now, I will not need to worry about turning off the lights and any misbehavior problems that this may bring. She said that the Smartboard should be delivered and set-up in my classroom over Christmas break, and that it should be ready to use by the time I return to school in January 🙂 Just had to share what a blessing this was and how QUICKLY God answered this prayer in such an amazing way!!!

    • Michael Linsin December 18, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

      That’s great news, Jessica! Congratulations!

      :)Michael

  5. Jessica December 18, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    Also, thank you for your reply!! I love the idea of setting aside a specific lesson for teaching these procedures 🙂 I am also going to give them a refresher on Classroom Management basics when they get back from Christmas Break–so I will tie in the principles you listed above into this presentation 🙂

    • Michael Linsin December 18, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

      Hi Jessica,

      A classroom management refresher is always a good idea after a long break.

      Michael

  6. Freya Shipley March 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    Thank you so much for this fantastic site & blog! I’m a brand new Montessori teacher, and I’m deeply grateful for everything you share.

    (In this post, should “can” in the first paragraph be “can’t”?)

    warmly,
    Freya

    • Michael Linsin March 13, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

      Hi Freya,

      Glad you found the website! I hope you sign up to become an email subscriber. As for your question, no, whether or if you believe you can (or not) is implied.

      :)Michael

  7. sally mohamed diaa May 28, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    glad to find this web site as i have series problem controlling the class and i think i m about to quit