5 Classroom Management Tips For Every Teacher

classroom management tipsThis week we’re going to visit five classroom management tips all teachers can benefit from, new and veteran alike.

But what makes these tips different than the usual fare is that they’re so often overlooked, ignored, or just plain forgotten. Sneak a peak into a hundred classrooms and you’ll find few if any teachers actually following them.

Those who do, however, those who make these essential tips part of who they are and how they run their classroom, have an uncanny ability to create the kind of happy but peaceful learning experience students love being part of.

They have what students, parents, and fellow teachers struggle to put their finger on when describing those rare individuals with a natural gift for their profession. But the truth is, the ability to create a dream class is available to everyone.

The tips below form the backbone of an approach to classroom management that will pave the way to extraordinary teaching—if only you’ll make the commitment to following them.

1. Teach highly detailed routines for every repeatable moment.

Well-taught routines, performed with excellence, are among the clearest indicators of exceptional teaching. They make everything for the teacher easier, save loads of learning time, dramatically cut down on misbehavior, and help students stay focused on what’s important.

Begin the first day of school modeling every repeatable moment of your school day. Show your students explicitly, step-by-tiny-step, how to enter the classroom in the morning, how to ask a question, how to turn in work, and how to perform every other routine that make up the common movements and transitions of your classroom.

2. Make an unwavering commitment to your classroom management plan.

An inconsistently followed classroom management plan is one of the most common teacher mistakes. It’s also among the most detrimental. Because every time a rule is broken, and you let it go, you lose a layer of trust from your students, cause resentment and jealousy, and send the unmistakable message that you don’t really mean what you say.

Furthermore, teachers who fail to rely on a clearly defined plan for holding students accountable, inevitably make behavior worse by falling into hurtful methods like yelling, scolding, and sarcasm. They also tend to take misbehavior personally, have poor relationships with students, and experience mountains of stress.

3. Build a behavior-influencing relationship with your students.

Having a positive relationship with students makes everything easier, particularly classroom management. When your students like you and trust you, they’ll want to please you, which in turn gives you powerful leverage to influence their behavior. And the best news is, it isn’t difficult.

If you’re merely pleasant in your interactions with students, if you’re open to laughter and seeing the humor in your classroom and in the unique and wonderful personalities of your students, then behavior-influencing rapport will grow naturally. Your students will look up to you and be drawn to you organically and without strategic effort.

4. Spend more time observing and less time micromanaging.

Most teachers talk too much, help too much, and are seen too much. The truth is, micromanagement breeds needy, demanding, and dependent students who expect from you what they can readily do for themselves. Ironically, it also causes them to grow tired of your constant, intrusive presence.

So instead of buzzing around the room, reteaching one student after another, focus your energy on delivering clear-cut, efficient, and high-impact lessons, a thorough checking of understanding, and an expectation of silent, focused, independent practice—while you observe closely from a short distance.

5. Take responsibility for your students—both their learning and behavior.

In our profession, perhaps more than any other, it’s easy—too easy—to point the finger at outside circumstances. There are dozens of ready-made justifications for why your students misbehave, why they’re disrespectful, why they don’t listen or do their homework or work together, etc.

But in the end, blaming parents, video games, or the neighborhood they live in, for example, solves nothing and makes creating the classroom you really want an impossibility. It’s also akin to giving up on them, pigeonholing their behavior and limiting their potential.

When you take responsibility, however, when you stand up and say, “It’s up to me, right now, and at this school!” there are no limits.

The Perfect Time

Summer vacation is the perfect time to take inventory of the previous school year. It’s the perfect time to discard bad habits, turn over a new leaf, and commit to being the teacher you really want to be.

The five classroom management tips above represent a wonderful, glorious beginning and a future of unlimited possibility.

But they do take commitment. They do take a setting aside of some of your natural instincts, habits, and crutches in favor of what really works in the classroom.

It’s scary to step out into the unknown. It’s scary to dare yourself to be more than just another teacher. It’s scary to think that your professional dreams really can come true.

But if you can take that first step on that first day of school, then you can take another. And another.

It’s doable and within your grasp.

Just reach out . . . a little farther . . .

And take it.

Note: If you’re new to Smart Classroom Management and have questions about the topics above, please visit our archive, as well as the books Dream Class and The Classroom Management Secret.

Also, we were honored this week to be included in the 151 leading sites for elementary educators. You can find the list here.

Finally, 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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30 Responses to 5 Classroom Management Tips For Every Teacher

  1. cindy womack July 21, 2013 at 12:21 am #

    Point 1 and point 4 almost seem as a contradiction. What is the difference between micromanaging and showing students explicitly how you want them to perform? Could you furthur clarify for me? How do I do number one and avoid micromanaging? It seems there is a fine line between the two.

    • Michael Linsin July 21, 2013 at 10:38 am #

      Hi Cindy,

      Highly detailed teaching refers to initial learning–particularly in regard to routines. Number four refers to independent practice. These are big topics that have been written about extensively on this website and in both Dream Class and The CM Secret. I recommend following the links within the article or digging into the archive.


  2. Jeff Carpenter July 21, 2013 at 5:52 am #

    With #2, I agree to an extent. But for novices who haven’t yet learned what works for them, I think it’s not best to stick with a plan that sounded good in the summer if it’s clearly not working. Apply your plan – follow through is important. But also be open to the idea that your plan made need tweaking.

  3. Christine July 22, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    Thanks for the great tips to help me focus as I get ready to return to preschool. Congratulations on making the list of leading websites, and way up there at 21!

    • Michael Linsin July 22, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

      Thanks Christine!


  4. Chuck July 22, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    Hey Michael. I liked your site so much that I’ve been sharing it with other teachers.

    Unfortunately, a lot of teachers don’t seem to like the advice you give claiming it is too rigid and will not work for students who need to be given special treatment like being allowed to blurt multiple times without a consequence, because they can’t help it.

    I’ve tried your suggestions and I KNOW they work. But I’m being told that keeping everyone accountable for the same rules isn’t being fair and that fair and equal are not the same thing. I know that, and I definitely find ways to be fair even if they are not equal but these teachers claim that in their classrooms students are understanding of each other and don’t get resentful if a teacher plays favorites or doesn’t apply the rules consistently.

    I had heard this advice before, and it was what led me to be very inconsistent to begin with, so I don’t agree with them. However I am being overwhelmed by the number of teachers who disagree with me and assure me that they are right.

    If there is a student who seems to literally not be able to follow the rules, I feel like that student may have an underlying issue that may require an IEP or something more serious. The teachers think it should be ignored and class should go on without addressing the issue. What do you think?

    • Michael Linsin July 22, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

      Hi Chuck,

      Your question requires a more complete answer than I can give here. I’ll keep it in mind and consider including it in a future article.


  5. Hannah August 1, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    This is my 8th year teaching high school art. After all this time I still get the jitters when it’s time to go back to school. I never have figured out what the most important thing for me to do or say on that first day of school is. It’s such an awkward day because it’s only me and each of my 7 classes for about 20 minutes each. What would you do?

    • Michael Linsin August 2, 2013 at 8:02 am #

      Hi Hannah,

      With 20 minutes I’d simply and clearly express what you expect from them while in your class–behavior, work habits, routines etc. In other words, laying the foundation for inspired learning and teaching. Be sure to look through the First Days Of School category of the archive. 🙂


  6. bhakta August 18, 2013 at 12:59 am #

    how to make routine please send me some tips about it

    • Michael Linsin August 18, 2013 at 7:29 am #

      Hi Bhakta,

      Please read through the Routines & Procedures category of the archive (top right-hand corner of page).


  7. Abigail Ferrell August 21, 2013 at 6:36 am #

    Do you feel that your classroom management tips, particularly time out, are appropriate for the high school environment? If not, can you suggest some adjustments that would be fitting?

    • Michael Linsin August 21, 2013 at 7:16 am #

      Hi Abigail,

      Yes, however you would have to make adjustments depending on how old your students. These can vary and are mostly obvious. There are well over 200 articles on the website, describing hundreds of strategies. Therefore, the adjustments are up to you and personal to your situation.


  8. Shaibaz Khan December 24, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    Thank you so much. This is the first time I am writing a comment. Your classroom management ideas are great. Because of which I am promoted to coordinator’s post in my school. Thankyou once again.

    • Michael Linsin December 25, 2013 at 8:16 am #

      You’re welcome, Shaibaz! Congratulations!


  9. Laura Holderman August 20, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

    What about when I need a substitute teacher? What are some stragegies to stay consistent, but not overwhelm the substitute?

    • Michael Linsin August 20, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

      Hi Laura,

      This topic is on the list of future articles. Stay tuned!


  10. Rmaa September 13, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

    These 5 are important. Thank you for your advice. Also i need more class room management. Help me

    • Michael Linsin September 13, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

      Hi Rmaa,

      I recommend you check out our archive. You can find it on the menu bar at the top of the page.


  11. Kasey November 16, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    You should visit this website that has great Classroom Strategies as well as ideas on building School Climate. They are great to help you reach your varying student populations!

  12. Kevin Peter February 12, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    Teachers definitely need to finish the daily task with an updated to do list inorder to ensure students are benefitted.
    Figuring out what they need to do first helps teachers tackle the lessons and activity to get more things done is less time.

  13. linda February 19, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    thanks for the wonderful tips. ill try it.

  14. Raheel Farooq March 21, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

    I agree you almost at all the points. But focusing more on observing your class and taking the responsibility of their behaviours are the most important things to take into account for a teacher who wants to manage things systematically.
    A great read, by the way. Thank you for sharing your ideas with us!

    • Michael Linsin March 22, 2016 at 6:54 am #

      You’re welcome, Raheel.