How To Have Effective Classroom Management

effective classroom managementTeachers who struggle with classroom management tend to head into the start of every school year with a wait and see approach.

Sure, they may have an idea of how they want to manage their classroom. They may have strategies they’ve leaned on in the past, lessons learned from the year before, and a renewed commitment to being more consistent.

But they trust their instincts above all. They trust their ability to change, adapt, and adjust. They trust that they’ll be able to learn on the fly and jump nimbly through the minefields of another new group of students.

They trust that this time—somehow, someway—they’ll cobble together the right mix of strategies, the right words to say, the right pieces to the puzzle.

And inevitably when things start going south, when they find themselves calling out over the din of their classroom, raising their voice, and arguing with their most challenging students, they’ll seek advice from wherever they can get it.

They’ll query colleagues and spouses. They’ll pose chat-room questions. They’ll plug their most pressing issues into their favorite search engine. They’ll pick and choose, play their hunches, and then give it a go.

But effective classroom management isn’t an experiment.

It isn’t a jumbled, disparate, mix-up of strategies that have no business being in the same classroom together. It isn’t a series of tweaks and adjustments based on gut feelings, best guesses, or divining sticks.

No, effective classroom management is deliberate and predictable—with success determined ahead of time. It’s proactive, preplanned, and unified. It’s knowing what to do and why you do it.

It’s a personality, a presence, and a leadership style that provides behavior-changing leverage and influence. It’s fair and low in stress. It calms, settles, and focuses. It breathes and inspires.

It calls for you to go into each new school year knowing how to create a classroom your students will love being part of, where work habits, politeness, and independence develop naturally, and where students are inspired to want to behave.

Beginning a new school year without a clear-cut vision and understanding of where you want to go and how you’re going to get there is a precarious game of chance. It’s classroom management based on hope and the luck of the draw.

It’s accepting less than what is possible and less than what you’re capable of.

It isn’t uncommon for teachers to spend days, even weeks, preparing units of study, but give short shrift to the one thing that frees you to teach with passion and frees your students to learn without interruption, disruption, and drama.

As you head into the summer, we here at Smart Classroom Management encourage you to spend time perusing our archive and checking out our books. We encourage you to develop a solid base of understanding of what really works and why.

The truth is, effective classroom management is simpler and more accessible than most teachers realize. Regardless of who you are or where you teach, you really can embark on the next new school year knowing exactly how to set up a peaceful, well-behaved classroom.

You really can know how best to respond to virtually any and every classroom management situation that arises. You really can take a new group of students with vastly different personalities and behavior tendencies and transform them into the class you’ve always wanted.

But it starts before the school year begins.

It starts now.

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10 Responses to How To Have Effective Classroom Management

  1. Julia E. Moore July 1, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    I found this sight to be very informative. My challenge is I am an art teacher and I have limited time with each class that I see.

    • Michael Linsin July 1, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

      Hi Julia,

      I wrote Classroom Management for Art, Music, and PE Teachers to address this issue and many others specific to specialist teachers.


  2. Adriana July 19, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    I was happy to read that smiling is a good thing to do the beginning of school.

    • Michael Linsin July 19, 2014 at 11:24 am #

      Indeed, Adriana!


  3. Jen November 9, 2014 at 6:08 pm #


    First I would like to say I found your website while frantically searching for advice on management. From the articles I’ve read so far, your website appears to be the best one I’ve come across. when looking for management solutions.
    I am finishing my education degree and completing a final teaching practicum for licensure. I’m in an urban environment and find myself really struggling with management.
    The classroom I am placed in has a management plan similar to the one you outline. Rules are raise your hand to speak or leave your seat, keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself, and stay in your seat. Consequences are first a verbal warning, then a detention, and for a third offense a 10 minute reflection period and a phone call home. The rules are clearly stated, but I keep finding myself being inconsistent in enforcing them since many students break rules at the same time. My mentor teacher does not really enforce the rules in place when he teaches, but when I do I find myself being accused of favoritism as there are only a few students who consistently break the rules. This is quickly be coming a problem since I’m starting to take over as lead teacher.

    Any suggestions so I can turn my management around and have a more positive experience before my practicum is over?

    • Michael Linsin November 10, 2014 at 7:14 am #

      Hi Jen,

      As a student teacher it’s important that you get in the habit of being consistent. So, although having a lead teacher whose inconsistently may be undermining you to some degree, my best advice for your future as an effective teacher is to follow your classroom management plan as it’s written. This may, however, entail having to review and practice it as part of the transition from your lead teacher–which would also be a good experience for you. As to whether the students will (or already do) accuse you of favoritism? It’s not your issue as long as you remain consistent.


  4. Angelo October 15, 2016 at 11:07 am #

    I understand this article and this does help a lot. But what if my problem is how to make them excited for the next day i mean how do i get new ideas every now and then to make the week for them exciting and not get ‘friday sickness’ (most students cut classes when its friday) with my students.

    – English teacher

    • Michael Linsin October 15, 2016 at 11:12 am #

      Hi Angelo,

      I recommend The Happy Teacher Habits. It details exactly how I recommend planning and delivering great lessons.