How To Be Both Calm And Enthusiastic Next School Year

Smart Classroom Management: How To Be Both Calm And Enthusiastic Next School YearA calm disposition can sweep excitability right out of your classroom.

It can improve listening and attentiveness. It can curb misbehavior and accelerate maturity.

It can also make you a more effective teacher.

But inevitably, whenever I write about its importance, the question of enthusiasm comes up.

“How can I remain calm while at the same time show enthusiasm?”

Well, a couple things.

First, it’s important to point out that they’re not mutually exclusive.

Calmness, of the kind that permeates the classroom and rubs off on students, is more of an inward feeling than an outward appearance.

So even if you’re acting out a funny story, as long as you’re relaxed on the inside, your students will take it in stride.

They’ll enjoy it and laugh along with you.

It won’t wind them up or cause misbehavior, especially if you’ve established consistency in following your classroom management plan.

Second, while being calm internally is always good, there are times when it’s best to be enthusiastic and times when it’s best to be reserved.

And herein lies the confusion.

Calmness is a state of mind and body that accompanies the effective teacher from morning bell to dismissal, whereas enthusiasm and reserve trade off throughout the day.

To be most effective, you’ll want to save your enthusiasm for directed lessons.

So when you step before your students to teach a particular objective, you’re free to let it fly. You’re free to perform and inspire to your heart’s content.

You’re free to use your passion to captivate, delight, and pull your students mind, body, and soul into your lesson.

But the moment you transition to giving directions or providing information, it’s best to draw down your energy.

It’s best to stand in one place, slow your breathing, and limit your movements. Talk in a softer voice and focus on clarity and accuracy. Provide only the essential details needed to do the work, fulfill the objective, or perform the routine successfully.

While the former captures interest, the latter narrows your students’ focus on what they need to do.

Many teachers get this backward.

They clap and exhort and bounce around the room trying to coax students into doing what they want, including behave, but then all but fall asleep during directed teaching.

They drone on and on and repeat themselves again and again. They flatten their voice and deaden their personality. They lose their spirit.

But they plow on ahead, never noticing that their students are wilting, nodding off, or turning their attention to more interesting pursuits—like misbehavior.

Exceptional teaching demands that you maintain a calm disposition throughout the day, which not only eliminates excitability but sets in motion many other wonderful benefits.

It also demands that you know when to show enthusiasm and when to be reserved.

Get these right, and your teaching will be infinitely more effective. Your students will be happier and less inclined to misbehave.

And there will be peace in your kingdom.

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27 Responses to How To Be Both Calm And Enthusiastic Next School Year

  1. Jillian July 8, 2017 at 7:26 am #

    Excellent article. I’ve found your blog to be super helpful. I’ve recently been doing a lot of reading about Whole Brain Teaching, and I think that many of the strategies would be helpful in keeping my fourth graders engaged in the lesson, however, the strategies encourage very high enthusiasm, and very little calm, for teacher and students alike. Do you have any thoughts on how to maintain smart classroom management, but still incorporate Whole Brain Teaching?

    • Michael Linsin July 8, 2017 at 2:55 pm #

      Hi Jillian,

      I’m sorry, I don’t. Our approach is comprehensive and thus to be most effective I recommend going in all the way.


  2. Lisa July 8, 2017 at 7:44 am #

    Hi Michael, Great article on how to be calm and enthusiastic. I agree totally. This makes all the difference in the world.

    • Michael Linsin July 8, 2017 at 2:56 pm #

      Thanks Lisa.


  3. Elikini July 8, 2017 at 12:07 pm #

    Malo e Lelei Mr. Michael. I am a very successful University student, started teaching career in 2000 and I am still enthusiastic on embarking on my learning to become the BEST TEACHER for my class. I have taught classes of age 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 – and have few struggles with managing classroom in terms of students behaviours, nothing to do with teacher’s work. I have qualifications that a classroom teacher needs i.e. Reading Recovery, Postgrads Diploma, TESSOL Dip, Master of Professional Study Degree and passion to teach. I must tell you now Michael, that of all books I have read at university, NONE that have opened my eyes to help students manage their behaviour – like what I have learnt off your online posted articles. I appreciate other teachers’ posts as well, they help me confirm the success of your expertise in the classroom. Malo ‘aupito = Thank you very much.

    • Michael Linsin July 8, 2017 at 2:57 pm #

      It’s my pleasure, Elikini. Thanks for your kind words.


  4. Tom July 8, 2017 at 1:37 pm #

    Hi Michael,

    This was exactly what I needed to hear for my teaching going forward. I think that this is so important for all of us as teachers, but really hit home with me especially.

    • Michael Linsin July 8, 2017 at 2:58 pm #

      Glad to hear it, Tom! I’m so glad it was helpful.


  5. Chris July 8, 2017 at 4:41 pm #

    Honestly, I’m ending up bookmarking every new SCM article to the point where I might as well bookmark every page on the site! They’re so great and the truths hit home because they come from experience and from the heart. Thanks.

    • Michael Linsin July 8, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

      You’re welcome, Chris! Let me know if there is a topic you want us to cover.


  6. Kalpana July 9, 2017 at 4:36 am #

    Very nice article.

    • Michael Linsin July 9, 2017 at 11:05 am #

      Thank you, Kalpana.


  7. Hyacinth Wellington July 9, 2017 at 11:46 pm #

    Need all the help with classroom management.Thanks for the article.

    • Michael Linsin July 10, 2017 at 6:38 am #

      You’re welcome, Hyacinth.


  8. Georgia Konopczynski July 10, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

    Hi Michael,

    Thank you for all the advice. I have been co-teaching an 8th grade inclusion classroom for a few years but they plan on giving me my own 6th grade double advanced math class (6th graders taking the 8th grade course) this year. I watched all the videos on your classroom management course. I am now looking at whether or not I should use the elementary or high school management plan. I’m sure this is a stupid question and I should definitely use the elementary plan, however I am sure these kids will be there already with the intention of learning and that behavior will not be as much of an issue as I am used to in the gen ed class… and I feel like time out might be too young for them. I guess I am feeling like being an advanced class, they might be more mature? Can you shed some light on this for me?

    Thanks for all you have written.

  9. Lindsay Gribble July 12, 2017 at 12:22 pm #

    What book or videos would you recommend for a middle school teacher?

    • Michael Linsin July 12, 2017 at 2:43 pm #

      Hi Lindsay,

      If you’re asking about our resources, I recommend The Classroom Management Secret and The Happy Teacher Habits.


  10. Becky Smiley July 12, 2017 at 4:44 pm #

    Have been following you for a couple of years,and have your books. As an elementary Art teacher seeing K-5 classes for 40 minutes once a week, I feel the crunch of time in every class. I have no problem being excited or enthusiastic, but I also feel frantic with the limited time I have to “get’em in and get’em out” AND have a great learning experience. It’s difficult to go to “calm” in the same amount of time. As a result, I believe some of my students are so pumped up with excitement that they become out of control discipline problems. Can you help me see what I need to correct, please?

    • Michael Linsin July 13, 2017 at 8:31 am #

      Hi Becky,

      It’s hard to know specifically if I can’t see you in action, but it’s likely that you’re trying to do too much. Adjust what you expect to accomplish each day, and you’ll be able to slow down.


  11. Joanna Schwartz July 13, 2017 at 11:34 am #

    I would really like to have all your posts in one place so I can read through them. Does this exist? Do you feel that any of your books do a good job of encapsulating them?

    • Michael Linsin July 13, 2017 at 1:24 pm #

      Hi Joanna,

      Not outside of the website, but The Classroom Management Secret is a good alternative.


  12. Mosunmola July 14, 2017 at 9:36 am #

    Hi Michael,
    Thanks for all your great posts.I have always had the challenge of an effective classroom management, Your articles have been so educative and helpful to me.

    • Michael Linsin July 14, 2017 at 10:02 am #

      It’s my pleasure, Mosunmola. I appreciate you letting me know.


  13. Georgia Konopczynski July 14, 2017 at 4:39 pm #

    Hi Michael,

    For a 6th grade double advanced math class (6th graders doing 8th grade curriculum, do you suggest your elementary classroom management plan? It will be my first time teaching alone, and with an advanced small class like the one I will be teaching, I feel like behavior will not really be an issue, but know from your teaching that I do still need a plan and will need to stick to the rules. If you have any advice for such a class please let me know. Thank you.

    • Michael Linsin July 15, 2017 at 7:05 am #

      Hi Georgia,

      Yes, I do.


  14. Georgia Konopczynski July 15, 2017 at 11:39 am #

    Thanks! Sorry, another question… do you start enforcing rules the first day as soon as you know they understand them because they have been modeled? Some teachers at my school say not to enforce them for about 2 weeks but that seems silly to me. Sorry if I missed that on the consequences article

    • Michael Linsin July 15, 2017 at 1:33 pm #


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