How To Be A Better, Happier Teacher Next School Year

Smart Classroom Management: How To Be A Better, Happier Teacher Next School YearBefore rushing headlong into summer, it’s instructive to take a look back.

To reflect on what went well during the past school year and what didn’t.

Because, unless you know where you need to improve, you’re destined to experience the same frustrations year after year.

So I created a survey based on the core principles and philosophies of SCM.

It will help you pinpoint those areas that stood in your way of truly loving your job.

I recommend giving yourself a score between one and five to represent the degree in which you’re able to answer yes for each item.

Don’t worry, no one is going to see your survey but you.

So be brutally honest.

It’s sure to make you a better, happier teacher next year.


1. I consistently followed my classroom management plan.

2. I held students accountable without becoming angry or taking misbehavior personally.

3. I refrained from lecturing, scolding, yelling, glaring, or using any other form of intimidation.

4. I praised students only for work, effort, or behavior that was truly worthy of it.

5. I built strong leverage, influence, and rapport through my consistently pleasant personality.

6. I avoided external rewards in favor of building intrinsic motivation.

7. I had a good relationship with my most difficult students.

8. I taught routines thoroughly and held my class accountable for performing them with excellence.

9. I taught clear, compelling lessons and then shifted responsibility to my students.

10. I allowed my students to work independently with the least amount of interference from me.

11. I was dependably able to get my students to listen attentively and follow my directions.

12. I prepared efficiently and had ample time to spend with my family and the hobbies I love.

13. I created a peaceful, happy, and orderly room environment that my students loved coming to every day.

14. I experienced a minimal amount of stress throughout the year.


It’s important to point out that the principles listed in the survey are in large part dependent on one another.

They work together synergistically to create a classroom that is best and most enjoyable for you and your students.

This is good news.

It means that even a small change, like becoming more consistent, can improve the other areas as well.

It’s also important to mention that anyone can learn the strategies that will allow you to answer a resounding “yes” to each of the items on the survey.

This is no pie-in-the-sky scenario. Our approach has been proven over and over again with thousands of teachers around the world.

If the survey raised questions about why each item is important, we’ve got you covered.

Plug any of the core terms—like “praise” for example—into the search box (along the menu bar) and you’re sure to get a long list of articles that explain why the strategy is important and how to apply it in your classroom.

You may also want to add one or more of our books to your summer reading list.

The Classroom Management Secret is a comprehensive overview of the Smart Classroom Management approach, including details about how to implement our most effective strategies.

Dream Class draws on stories and examples to show how the approach has been applied successfully in a real-world classroom.

The Happy Teacher Habits, which is our newest book, focuses on what the happiest and most effective teachers do to save time, eliminate stress, and motivate students to want to learn and behave.

Classroom Management for Art, Music, and PE Teachers was written specifically for specialist teachers. It applies the SCM approach to the unique challenge of teaching 500 students or more per week.

Finally, if there is a topic you’d like us to cover in the future, we’re happy to do it.

Just shoot me an email, and I’ll put it on the list.

Thanks for reading.


If you haven’t done so already, please join us. It’s free! Click here and begin receiving new-article updates in your email box every week.


24 Responses to How To Be A Better, Happier Teacher Next School Year

  1. C. Laskey June 18, 2016 at 8:45 am #

    I look forward to these and share them with colleagues. Time to purchase the books. The strategies work, particularly for students with histories of being approached in the catchy the opposite way.

  2. cathy bradley June 18, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

    Classroom management plan for over 18’s where parents cannot be involved – how do I make my students accountable, what would the final consequence be??

    I am a college lecturer and have used many of the suggests I have read here and it has worked fantastically this year when the kids have been in their first year at college and are mostly age 16-17. Next year though when they are 18, what will the last stage of my plan be?

    • Michael Linsin June 19, 2016 at 7:03 am #

      Hi Cathy,

      I’m working on a downloadable guide for high school teachers that should be applicable to you. There is too much involved for an article or even a series of articles. Stay tuned. I hope to have it completed by mid-July.


      • Dawn June 26, 2016 at 11:32 pm #

        I look forward to reading that! I will be teaching 12th graders this year.

  3. Discouraged June 18, 2016 at 5:45 pm #

    I read your book for classroom strategies for teachers who teach Art, Music and P.E.

    Thank you, it was fun to read and I couldn’t wait to get started. I had a fun, rewarding year. I tweaked it a little to fit my situation.

    So, here is the story, I went to our summer planning meeting. Before we started my supervisor complimented me on my classroom management skills for quite some time. We began on our lesson planning I explained my plans for the week’s lesson. She then told me to add more layers to the activity an I explained that I would need time to explain the classroom rules and expectations . She then told me that I take too much time explaining and that I should not. She did all of this in front of my co workers . I Am confused and discouraged.

    I get so much more time than I lose by requiring excellence .I refuse to be a grumpy frazzled teacher, but I do not know how to handle this supervisor.

    I can’t imagine I am the only one.

    Thank you for your good work. I look forward to purchasing and reading Happy Teacher Habits soon.

    • Michael Linsin June 19, 2016 at 7:07 am #

      Hi Discouraged.

      Your supervisor is wrong. She probably just feels like she has to say something to justify being a supervisor. I would nod your head and then do what you know is best for you and your students.


    • Jess July 22, 2016 at 4:14 am #

      No, you are definitely not alone. I constantly feel inundated with the requirements of needing to adhere to a pacing guide, standards, and curriculum that doesn’t align, and I feel like I have completely lost sight of what I truly am suppose to be doing. There is never time to converse with students in a way that helps me to know who they are as people, teach them social and problem solving skills, and give students opportunities to learn in a way that is developmentally appropriate for them. I am fortunate that I have a supervisor that gets it, but the district as a whole has completely lost sight of the true meaning of teaching. I like Michael’s comment about doing what you know is best; I need to go back to my roots and start closing my door to the banter.

  4. Tami June 19, 2016 at 5:30 am #

    Please stick to the recipe that works for you. If you have been complimented for years on your plan and you know it works, stick to it. Don’t change your recipe. Thank your supervisor for the feedback and do what has been working for you.

  5. Anne R. June 19, 2016 at 9:59 am #

    Dear Michel,
    I just finished reading Happy Teacher Habits and it was fantastic! I can’t wait to get started with these principles next year. I have been a teacher for over 35 years at all grade levels. I know That I am a pretty good classroom manager, because my students feel safe and welcomed in my room. However, more and more, the climate of education has changed and become overburdened with constant curriculum changes. This has caused many good teachers to become frustrated. There is too much to implement in a fixed amount of time on a daily, weekly and annual basis! I always thought as I became a “seasoned professional” my job would flow smoothly and I would be knowledgeable in my field. It has become harder, not easier and I often wonder when I will ever be credited for what II KNOW ! The truth is we already know what works, we just need to do it consistently! The ideas in your book are what works!
    Your book has given me the shot in the arm that I needed! Thank you!

    • Michael Linsin June 19, 2016 at 11:09 am #

      Hi Anne,

      I’m thrilled you enjoyed the book and are excited about next year! Your comments are spot on. The powers that be should be asking you to share your seasoned wisdom with them rather than burdening you with more and more and more shoveled onto your plate.


  6. Jeanette K June 19, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

    Your book, The Classroom Management Secret, transformed my entire school year! It was amazing! Implementing a plan to teach my students to own their own behavior allowed for a peaceful, safe atmosphere in which the students were eager to learn. And these were preschool students!
    I am anxious to read your newest book, too. Thank you for your dedication to teachers and students!

    • Michael Linsin June 19, 2016 at 7:55 pm #

      It’s my pleasure, Jeanette! Congratulations on your great year. Way to go! Thanks for sharing your success.


  7. Dave Stuart Jr. June 20, 2016 at 6:10 am #

    Michael, your stuff is always so good and refreshing. You’ve not only helped me, but many of the early-career teachers I’ve spoken to over the years. Thank you for your service!

    • Michael Linsin June 20, 2016 at 7:28 am #

      Thanks Dave! Glad to hear it. I appreciate your kind words.


  8. Looking ahead! June 23, 2016 at 11:15 am #

    In the comment left above by “Discouraged” they referenced a book you wrote for ‘specialists’ Art, Phys. Ed, and Music teachers. I am a technology teacher and believe this book would be helpful for me. Can you give me the title please. I subscribed to classroom management this past September and read your classroom management book. It helped my very stressful year of teaching 692 K-6 students a week. I had so many students with IEP’s and more. I had very little support and quite a few disruptive students. I even had 3rd grade students planing in their classroom how they could disrupt my class. It was the worst year I have ever had, but your weekly newsletter kept me sane. I kept every one in an email folder so I could revisit them when I needed to. Thank you. Please send along the name of this book for “special” teachers.

    • Michael Linsin June 23, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

      The book is called Classroom Management for Art, Music, and PE Teachers. (Just click on the orange book along the right sidebar.)


      • Bookbabe July 3, 2016 at 9:49 am #

        Would this be applicable to Librarians as well?

        • Michael Linsin July 3, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

          Hi Bookbabe,

          With a tweak here and there, yes.


  9. Candy Turner June 24, 2016 at 11:33 am #

    Dear Michael, I had a fantastic year, thanks to you. Your principles worked just as you said they would. My students and I had a hard time leaving each other, and school came to an end too soon. I had one question throughout the year. I did not give incentives for classroom behavior. I did however treat them often with brownies, stuffed animals, etc. I want to know if I could give incentives for academic achievement? For example making an improvement on a spelling test, or learning all of the state and capitals. Thank you for the wonderful year.

    • Michael Linsin June 24, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

      Hi Candy,

      I don’t think it’s harmful if it’s occasional and done as a surprise rather than “If you do this, you’ll get this.” I’ll be sure and cover this topic in the future.


  10. Ann June 28, 2016 at 6:54 pm #

    Dear Michael,
    My biggest frustration this year was coaches, curriculum people, administrators, etc. They changed how we can/can’t discipline, how we are to teach reading, how we are to teach math, how we are to enter, sit, and leave the lunch room – I’m so tired of outside “hoops” that are being put on me, I want to walk away. I love the kids and I love teaching, but not in this environment. Can you help with that?

    • Michael Linsin June 28, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

      Hi Ann,

      My new book, The Happy Teacher Habits, was written in response to this common and growing frustration. The book highlights 11 ways to fight back and love your job despite the changes and more and more shoveled onto your plate.


  11. Sunilbhai Yadav July 23, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

    dear Micheal
    your work is very inspiring . i impleted your techniques in my classroom and hot positive result.

    • Michael Linsin July 24, 2016 at 9:38 am #

      Great to hear, Sunilbhai!