Why Effective Classroom Management Happens Quickly

There is a tendency among teachers to view classroom management as a work in progress, as something that, given enough time, will form into shape.

It’s a belief that as students mature into their new grade level, and adjust to their teacher’s expectations, things will eventually get better. Behavior will improve, disruptions will become less frequent, and peace will reign in the kingdom. It makes sense.

But it isn’t true.

Classroom management is rarely a slow and steady march to Camelot. In fact, the hope in this belief often leads to crushing disappointment, frustration, and doubt as to whether it’s even possible to create a well-behaved classroom.

It turns lovely and caring teachers into jaded cynics, filled with resentment and negative thoughts about their class, their school, and their profession. Unless freed from this idea, they’re destined to be stressed-out, snapping at students and turning into the “mean” teacher they swore they’d never be.

The upshot is that if your approach to classroom management isn’t working right now, if it isn’t providing the peace and enjoyment you really want, then it’s unlikely to work in the future.

The lesson here is twofold.

First, an understanding of what really works in the classroom, and how to apply it, is incredibly powerful. It really is possible to take over any group of students—first day of school, midyear, or otherwise—and transform them into your ideal class.

Second, it must happen fairly quickly. Although perfection is ever elusive, effective classroom management is something that happens within a window of a few days.

This doesn’t mean that it can’t keep getting better as you build stronger relationships with your students. It can and will. But if you’re not feeling really good about your class within a week’s time, at most, then it’s a sign you need to make some changes.

Maybe you’ve grown inconsistent or developed some bad habits. Maybe your new class or new school is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. Maybe you’re flying by the seat of your pants or employing a hodgepodge of strategies that were never meant to be used together.

Whatever the case, we’re here to help.

We’re here to show you exactly what to do, regardless of how difficult your class is or how long you’ve been teaching. Our approach is simple, doable, and fast acting. It’s meant to save you time and eliminate your stress.

Now it’s important to note that if you’re new to our books and website, and still in the process of learning our approach, then it isn’t at all unusual to see a steady line of progress. In this case, it can indeed take time for the upward trend to reach its destination.

But as soon as you’re able to unleash the full complement of strategies, as soon as you have a firm grasp of our principles and philosophy, you’ll be able to walk into any teaching situation, no matter how chaotic or unruly, and turn it into the peaceful and fulfilling experience you’ve always longed for.

In order—you’ll be able to gain control, replace bad habits, establish boundaries, strengthen accountability, remove tension, build relationships, revive a love of school, and create a classroom your students can’t wait to get to every day.

And it will happen . . . quickly.

Note: Classroom Management for Art, Music, and PE Teachers is now available! Click here for details. Also, 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.

14 Responses to Why Effective Classroom Management Happens Quickly

  1. Emily Morris May 13, 2014 at 10:23 am #

    My ego is hoping this post was inspired by a question I sent you though my common sense isn’t quite so mememe.

    But, yes, I walked into an unruly second grade class at the final quarter of the year. Yes, I’m definitely still learning the principles here so I’m experiencing that “line of progress”, but it is happening! Things are indeed falling into place! I still browse your sight most days not only to look for specific tips but largely to internalize the principles.

    Thanks so much for your blog!

    • Michael Linsin May 13, 2014 at 10:58 am #

      Hi Emily,

      I’m not sure if it was your question specifically, but I’m certain it played a part. So good to hear your line of progress is on the way up. Way to go!


  2. Theresa Mast May 13, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    Hi Michael:
    Question: Is there a magic formula or number of students that should be in the elementary grades? How many children are too many? I am from a mid-America rural poorer district. Adult per child ratio? Or is there an at-risk formula that one can use?
    Thanks, T.Mast

    • Michael Linsin May 13, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

      Hi Theresa,

      This is a hotly debated topic, so the answer depends on who you ask. As for me, it’s outside the scope of what we do here at SCM. A few weeks ago I wrote a related article you might be interested in: How To Manage Large Class Sizes


  3. Backroads May 22, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    In essence, it seems to be more about training yourself and less about training your students–at least in the beginning.

    • Michael Linsin May 22, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

      Hi Backroads,

      Indeed, you’re right.


  4. Hanan October 1, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    I teach in a school where different teachers teach each subject beginning from preschool. How do I build rapport and class management with preschoolers and kindergarteners that I only see for 40 minutes 3 or 4 times a week? Is there a quick-start version of your class management guidelines that will be effective in this situation?

    Another question I have is pretty specific. How do I deal with preschoolers how, when corrected for bad behaviour turn into a dreaming yelling tantrum of a mess? They will not sit in a chair for time out and by the time I have calmed them down the rest of the class has run amuck. Help!

    • Michael Linsin October 1, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

      Hi Hanan,

      The book Classroom Management for Art, Music, and PE Teachers was written for teachers like you who see their students for only short periods during the week. As for your second question, you turn away from them for the time being. Wait until they calm down, or even forget about the incident, before enforcing a consequence.


  5. Cathy Ankeny March 14, 2015 at 11:58 am #

    Can we email you a question that will not appear on a public forum?

    • Michael Linsin March 14, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

      Hi Cathy,

      As the website continues to grow I have less and less time to answer questions. However, if it’s specific and something I haven’t written about already, I’ll sure try. Suggesting a future article, where I can give a full and complete answer, is also a good idea.


  6. Betsy December 24, 2015 at 7:47 am #

    Hi! What do I need to do to get the information about effective classroom management happens quickly? Christmas break is here so I have time to read and so far no consistent luck.

    Thank you! Betsy

  7. DuWayne Krause July 23, 2016 at 9:32 am #

    It is so true that if classroom control isn’t working for you now, whatever you are doing is not going to work in the future. Kids are smart. They instantly know who has control and who doesn’t. If what you are doing is not working it is time for a change.