How To Have A Nicer, Friendlier Class

Smart Classroom Management: How To Have A Nicer, Friendlier ClassSometimes it will occur to you right away, within the first week of school.

Sometimes it may take a few weeks.

But if one day you realize that your class isn’t very nice—to you or to each other—it can be disheartening.

It can be frustrating.

It can be bewildering as to what to do.

At some schools, it can feel like this every year and with every class, at least in the beginning.

Teachers tend to respond in one of two ways.

Either they get angry and demand civility through lectures, threats, talking-tos, and how-dare-yous.

Or they overwhelm their students with kindness.

They shower them with gentle reminders and second chances in the hope that their example will spread throughout the classroom.

Unfortunately, neither approach is effective.

The first will cause your students to dislike you. It will cause behind-the-back rebelliousness and resentment. It will bring tension into your classroom and cause more incivility, not less.

The problem with the second approach is that your students won’t respect you. They’ll view you as a pushover. You’ll be brushed aside, if not run over.

Surprisingly, they won’t like you much either. In the student-teacher relationship, respect and likability are intertwined.

They go hand in hand to create a leadership presence students are drawn to and influenced by.

And herein lies the solution.

To improve the civility in your classroom, you must combine a kind, easygoing disposition with a faithful and unwavering commitment to accountability.

You must be both gentle and strong.

This sends the message that while rudeness and disrespect toward you or their fellow classmates won’t be tolerated, even a sliver, it isn’t personal.

It’s never personal. Every day is a new day and forgiveness is always extended.

There is some mystery as to why this recipe is so effective. Sure, behavior improves, but how is it that the class is now so completely different? Why are they now so calm and nice to each other and so polite to you?

We’ll be sure and unpack why it’s so effective in a future article, as well as cover specifics on how to implement it.

In the meantime, just know that your kindheartedness and consistent adherence to your classroom management plan equals a nice and friendly class every time—no matter how challenging they are to begin with.

Still, some teachers don’t believe it. They don’t believe that with their current mix of students anyone on earth could turn them around.

But they’re wrong. I could turn them around. You could turn them around.

And so can they.

Just add one part strength, one part tenderness, and stir.

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15 Responses to How To Have A Nicer, Friendlier Class

  1. Deb Fokos November 14, 2015 at 11:12 am #

    I can attest to this as currently, I’m a sub for my district, and when I show up for the Middle School around the corner, that no one wants to sub at, the kids know that they will get kind and consistent treatment. It wasn’t that way at first…in fact they tried to run me over, but they know my policies and students (even at a school with a poor reputation for behavior) want to have a relationship with a teacher who is fair, fun and a stickler for learning, even if they have issues (they know I care about them) and that I am there because we are all learning.

  2. Noreen Carmody November 14, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

    You had an article listed about what to do if your students are ignoring the rules or the lesson, I can’t remember which. Could you put that article in the archives, please? Thanks.

    • Michael Linsin November 14, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

      Hi Noreen,

      Every article that has previously been posted can be found in the archive. I’m not sure exactly what article you’re referring to, but you can use the the search function in the top right-hand corner to look for it.


  3. Mktg November 14, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

    (Off topic & slightly irrelevant) I love the graphic. So cute.

    • Michael Linsin November 14, 2015 at 9:54 pm #

      Thank you! You’re the first to ever comment on one of our graphics. 🙂


  4. Jessica November 15, 2015 at 8:15 am #


    I was were you were about a month ago with one of my classes. I have probably the worst combination of behavior problem students in this class and no help or support from administration. I employed a lot of the techniques on this site and the class has completely turned around. Its by no means perfect but a lot more manageable and the classroom management plan gives me LEVERAGE that I didnt have with them before. The key is holding students accountable. For everything. No matter who they are. They might act like they dont care at first but eventually they will turn around. Mine did. Hang in there, it will get better.

  5. Diana Matyas November 15, 2015 at 11:46 pm #

    I completely agree with the article. We have classroom discussions about bullying or being unkind. The children open up about problems that they have endured and we figure out how to make it better. Even the kids who have been mean to others admit it, which is a big step. Thanks so much for the great articles!! They help so many educators!!

    • Michael Linsin November 16, 2015 at 7:50 am #

      You’re welcome, Diana!


  6. Marie November 16, 2015 at 3:35 pm #


    What if the class is kind and respectful to you and to others during your class, but are disrespectful in other classes (or at PE or recess)?

    • Michael Linsin November 16, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

      Hi Marie,

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


  7. Carol November 17, 2015 at 2:00 am #

    As a teacher aide I am often required to have the students when the teacher is absent or while I’m on playground duty. How do I get them on track when the teacher has blurred lines in the classroom and now after today she has let them take their shoes off and climb trees. I will be on playground duty tomorrow and will not be allowing this. How do I make the transition back, quick and painless?

    • Michael Linsin November 17, 2015 at 7:51 am #

      Hi Carol,

      You have to sit them down and tell them ahead of time what your expectations are and what will happen if they don’t follow them.


  8. Htay Htay Swe November 20, 2015 at 8:25 am #

    If the teacher can control the hearts of the students with great passion, 50%of class room management will be carry on forward easily. The teachers try to observe the students’ back ground family members’ attitude upon the students that reflect on classroom environment.

  9. Susan M. November 20, 2015 at 7:37 pm #

    Mr. Linsin,

    Last year was my first year in a new school district. The climate of the school and the culture of the students was very different than what I had been used to for many years of teaching. I was surprised at how hateful they were to each other. More than once I found myself looking desperately for other jobs than being a teacher, but instead I found your website and subscribed to the weekly tips. I was absolutely in need of the direction you gave. I do tend to be a softie, and I learned the hard way.

    After reading one of your books and committing to making a change in my classroom management techniques I have had a very different experience so far this year. in your book, Dream Class, you described exactly how to give directions to start the year. I used as much of those directions as I could. I do not think that it was just God that had a hand in this super class I have this year. I think I made a difference because I changed.

    There are students in my class who were on behavior plans in their previous class last year, yet this year they are functioning as well as the rest of the class and they are learning. And, by goodness, my class walks down the hall better than anyone else’s. 🙂

    I’m still somewhat of a softie, and I’m still learning, but what a difference it has made.

    • Michael Linsin November 21, 2015 at 11:06 am #

      That’s fantastic, Susan. Way to go! In many ways, I’m a softy too. As long as you’re unwavering in your standards/expectations/rules, being a softy is a good thing.