50 Things You Don’t Have To Do For Effective Classroom Management

Smart Classroom Management: 50 Things You Don't Have To Do For Effective Classroom ManagementClassroom management shouldn’t feel difficult.

If you’re straining, trying hard, and feeling heavy burdened, if you’re stressed-out and exhausted at the end of the day, then something is amiss.

You see, exceptional classroom management is knowledge based, not effort based.

It’s knowing what works and putting it into action and what doesn’t and discarding it.

It’s letting proven strategies do the heavy lifting for you, giving you the confidence to take any group of students, no matter how challenging or unruly, and transform them into the class you really want.

Done right, classroom management should feel liberating. In large part, this feeling of liberation comes from what you don’t have to do.

Below is a list of 50 ineffective, stressful, and burdensome methods of classroom management.

Some are myths. Some are misconceptions. And others you just may feel like you have no choice but to do.

But the truth is, by replacing them with what really works, with what really results in a happy, well-behaved classroom, you’re gloriously free to pitch them all on the scrap heap.

50 Things You Don’t Have To Do

1. You don’t have to lecture, yell, or scold.

2. You don’t have to micromanage.

3. You don’t have to ignore misbehavior.

4. You don’t have to be unlikable.

5. You don’t have to tolerate call-outs and interruptions.

6. You don’t have to use bribery.

7. You don’t have to walk on eggshells around difficult students.

8. You don’t have to give false praise.

9. You don’t have to send students to the office.

10. You don’t have to implore your students to pay attention.

11. You don’t have to say things you don’t truly believe.

12. You don’t have to be humorless, stern, or overly serious.

13. You don’t have to repeat yourself over and over again.

14. You don’t have to work on building community.

15. You don’t have to beg or coax or convince your students into behaving.

16. You don’t have to waste time and attention on difficult students.

17. You don’t have to do more or say more to have better control.

18. You don’t have to show anger or lose your cool.

19. You don’t have to lower your behavior standards.

20. You don’t have to talk so much, so often, or so loud.

21. You don’t have to have an antagonistic or demanding relationship with difficult students.

22. You don’t have to shush your students or ask repeatedly for quiet.

23. You don’t have to give frequent reminders and exhortations.

24. You don’t have to show hurt or disappointment to get your message across.

25. You don’t have to guide, direct, or handhold your students through every moment of the day.

26. You don’t have to be thought of as a “mean” teacher.

27. You don’t have to use threats or intimidation to get students to behave.

28. You don’t have to have friction or resentment between you and any of your students.

29. You don’t have to use behavior contracts to turn around difficult students.

30. You don’t have to give over-the-top or gratuitous praise.

31. You don’t have to plead with your students to follow your directions.

32. You don’t have to use different strategies for different students.

33. You don’t have to tolerate a noisy, chaotic, or unruly classroom.

34. You don’t have to talk over your students or move on until you’re ready.

35. You don’t have to accept being disrespected, cursed at, or ignored.

36. You don’t have use complicated classroom management methods.

37. You don’t have to be fearful of holding your students strictly accountable.

38. You don’t have to hold time-consuming community circles or hashing-out sessions.

39. You don’t have to be negative or critical to motivate your students.

40. You don’t have to cover up your personality or hold back from having fun.

41. You don’t have to tolerate arguing and talking back.

42. You don’t have to ask two or three times or more for your students’ attention.

43. You don’t have to offer praise for expected behavior.

44. You don’t have to rely on parents, the principal, or anyone else to turn around difficult students.

45. You don’t have to be overbearing or suffocating to have excellent control.

46. You don’t have to give incessant talking-tos to difficult and disrespectful students.

47. You don’t have to ask students why they misbehaved or force assurances from them.

48. You don’t have to have a boring, no-fun classroom to keep a lid on whole-class misbehavior.

49. You don’t have to be tense, tired, and sick of dealing with misbehavior.

50. You never, ever have to be at the mercy of your students.

Note: Although only a few topics above are linked to articles, all 50 have been written about extensively on this website.

So What Do You Have To Do?

To completely and blissfully rid yourself of the above methods, and to create the classroom you’ve always wanted, you must learn the classroom management principles, strategies, and solutions that are proven to work over time.

No just band-aids, mind you. Not quick fixes and short-term solutions. But a clear, honest, and enduring way to transform your classroom and make a lifetime impact on our students.

The good news is that anyone can do this.

And it’s right at your fingertips. Everything you need to create your dream class—with much more to come—you’ll find on this website.

Look through the archives. Peruse the categories. Take careful notes. And then put what you learn into practice—one simple strategy at a time—until it becomes second nature.

The payoff will be great.

The results will exceed your expectations.

Your confidence will soar.

And the weight of 50 grand pianos will slide gently off your shoulders.

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.


17 Responses to 50 Things You Don’t Have To Do For Effective Classroom Management

  1. Rosie March 4, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    I love this site! It’s the only blog that I never miss reading! I teach college ESL classes and can still use most of the principles laid out here in spite of the age and culture differences of the students of the audience this blog was intended for.

    • Michael Linsin March 4, 2012 at 11:37 am #

      Glad to hear it, Rosie!

  2. carol March 7, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    Have loved your site since last year, when I discovered it. As a substitute I’ve taken a three-week assignment. I am struggling with 2 boys who I find difficult to get a handle on — living in shelters, chaotic home lives, one is very mentally confused. How can I develop a relationship, & leverage, when it’s all I can do to keep them from crawling on the floor? All the teachers I’ve talked with say they’re a handful.

    • Michael Linsin March 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

      Hi Carol,

      If you follow your classroom management plan and hold them accountable without causing friction between you, and they like and respect you, then rapport and influence will happen naturally–regardless of who they are.


  3. Amanda March 20, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    I discovered your website over the weekend and started putting my new management plan into practice on Monday. I want to thank you for completely turning around my music classes! Even my most difficult class of the week went wonderfully today. One of my students said he enjoyed music more than ever today and all of my classes said they had a happier experience. Thank you!

    • Michael Linsin March 21, 2012 at 6:51 am #

      Great! Way to go, Amanda!

  4. kim February 12, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

    How do I reverse a situation AFTER there is resentment? I made a rule that they were not to bring lead pencils or I would take them away. One kid brought a set and is mad because I told his mom. He still uses them but is angry and wants me to allow him to use them, which he is doing in defiance anyway. Is the rule harsh? The other kids accept the consequences but he doesn’t. I don’t want to bend the rule for him or eliminate it altogether.

    • Michael Linsin February 12, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

      Hi Kim,

      As long as your students knew about the rule (and it sounds like they did), you don’t have anything to reverse. Whether this one student, or any student, likes this rule or that rule isn’t your concern. And I wouldn’t give it another thought. I would, however, be sure and enforce it precisely how you said you would.


  5. Natalie Hodge March 15, 2013 at 9:05 am #

    This site was just what I needed!! I felt defeated and that it was my kids that were naughty! After reading the article about things teachers do to create misbehavior I realized it was me!!!! I’ve implemented the rewind strategy and the last 2 days have been incredible! I couldn’t believe such a simple step could revolutionize my classroom! Thank you thank you thank you!!

    • Michael Linsin March 15, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

      My pleasure, Natalie!


  6. Tempest February 15, 2014 at 9:48 pm #


    I see so many articles and feel a little overwhelmed. I am unsure of where to start. I would also say my situation is a little different because I work in daycare with after school students. I am more like an assistant teacher with the director as the head teacher. She has me with them from 3 30 to 5 30. Shes consistent with the children 80% of the time but gets away with it because of her authority presence. Her voice, age and height I believe play a factor. But for some reason children think that I’m a teenager and I feel this doesnt help me at all. Plus, I have anxiety and that may affect my teaching. It’s very complicated…

  7. Tempest February 15, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

    The children probably don’t respect me either because Ive yelled and I’m normally soft spoken and I think they feel like I’m constantly on them about something. They also seem to take the head teacher’s yelling better than when I do it. Also it seems my rules dont match up completely with the head teacher/director’s rules. Its things that she can allow them to do and get away with it because she can just correct them and theyll stop. With me, I have to repeat myself and would have to be consistent.

    • Michael Linsin February 16, 2014 at 8:44 am #

      Hi Tempest,

      There is a lot on the website, and it certainly can be overwhelming. I recommend beginning in the Classroom Management Plan category of the archive and going from there. Here is a good article to start with: How To Set Up A Simple, Effective Classroom Management Plan


  8. Roderick Woodard February 17, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

    Hi Michael,

    I’m working on earning my teacher certification in Elementary Education K-6 and I’m currently a Paraprofessional working with middle school students!

    My classroom management skills with middle school students hasn’t been up to par. I often find myself frustrated, burned out, and raising my voice. I also demonstrate some inconsistency with students as well. I have been having so many difficulties lately concerning classroom management.

    I want to correct this before I become a teacher. I would like to become a 4th grade teacher one day and I already have my first day of school classroom management plan in place and I want to become an effective teacher.

    Is there such a thing as “starting over” when you make the transition from Paraprofessional to teacher? Also, do you think my being a Paraprofessional will contribute tremendously to my success as a teacher with regards to what effective teachers do and what not to do as a teacher?

    Roderick Woodard

    • Michael Linsin February 18, 2014 at 7:23 am #

      Hi Roderick,

      I think your experience will help you, and as long as you know what to do, you can certainly start over with a new mindset and set of skills when you become a classroom teacher. Your struggles as a paraprofessional should have no bearing on your future teaching success. You’ll do great!