9 Ways To Have More Authority Next School Year

Smart Classroom Management: 9 Ways To Have More Authority Next School YearAuthority plays an important role in effective classroom management.

Because it affects how students view you.

It affects how well they listen to you and follow your directions.

It affects their behavior around you, their trust in you, and their respect for you.

Some teachers seem to have it right out of the box.

They walk into a room and students immediately sense a strong, sure leadership presence.

And it changes them.

They become calmer, more mature, and more polite. It imbues them with a desire to please and behave and be better students and people.

Although, at first glance, authority appears to be an inborn gift reserved for a lucky few, there is really no mystery at all.

Anyone can have more of it by emulating the following nine traits.

1. Dress neatly.

Teachers are dressing more casually now than ever before. You’ll do well to buck the trend—because it has an effect on whether students perceive you as a leader worth following.

This doesn’t mean that you must dress formally or wear expensive clothes. General neatness in appearance and quality of clothing is key.

Dress like the leader you are and your students will treat you will greater respect. Sharp clothing will also make you feel more confident, which will further improve your authority.

2. Stand tall.

Confidence in the way you carry yourself sends the message to students that you know what’s best for them and that you’re steering them in the right direction.

This frees them to let their guard down, accept your words as true, and place their trust in you.

So stand tall. Throw your shoulders back. Move, behave, and express yourself as if you know exactly what you’re doing. If you’re not feeling confident, that’s okay.

The appearance of confidence can have the same effect. According to research, simply changing your posture can make you feel more powerful and thus behave more confidently.

3. Follow through.

This one is huge. Do what you say you’re going to do and over time your authority will skyrocket.

Be wishy-washy, however, break your promises and ignore your classroom management plan, and you’ll lose authority quickly. Everything you say will be called into question.

Your students will challenge you, argue with you, or pay you little mind. Some may even try to wrest control of the classroom right out of your hands.

4. Honor the truth.

Be upfront and honest in all your dealings with students. Refuse to engage in over-the-top flattery or manipulation.

Steer clear of do-this and get-that rewards, catching students doing good, or token economies—which effectively snuff out intrinsic motivation.

Make your words of praise genuine and based on true accomplishment. Tell your students the truth about where they are both behaviorally and academically.

A direct approach is highly motivational. It will give you strong authority as well as a dignity and morality that is common to all great leaders.

5. Be Pleasant.

The use of intimidation in any form is terrible leadership.

Lecturing, glaring, scolding, and losing your cool may frighten students into behaving in the short term, but the price is your respect, plummeting authority, and more and more misbehavior.

Being consistently pleasant, on the other hand, will give you effortless rapport, powerful leverage, and behavior-changing influence.

It will cause students to love you and want to get to know you better, without any additional effort from you. It will make your classroom management plan matter to them and work like it should.

6. Be calm.

Teachers who rush around, who are frazzled, scatter-brained, and tense, will never have the same level of authority as those who are calm and prepared.

It’s not even close.

Nervous energy has a way of spreading throughout the classroom, infecting every inch. It causes excitability, inattentiveness, and a form of misbehavior that is very difficult to eliminate.

It also makes you look like you don’t know what you’re doing.

7. Improve your speaking.

Teachers who struggle to gain authority tend to talk fast and ramble on and on. They repeat themselves and fill silences with ums and ers. They include details and asides that neither help nor advance learning.

They over communicate.

To improve your authority, as well as learning and interest, slow down. Be concise and stay on message. Finish your sentences and pause often to give your class a chance to comprehend what you say.

This will cause students to lean in and focus. It will draw them to you rather than push them away.

8. Be physically prepared.

You can’t be an effective teacher, or one your students look up to, if you’re stressed out, tired, and irritable. Good teaching requires you to be at your best every day of the week.

Which means you must become efficient with lesson planning. You must stay focused during work hours and learn to say no. You must be productive rather than just busy.

Go home at a decent hour and get away from even thinking about school for a few hours.

Get your rest, exercise for energy, and sit down to eat real, whole food. Spend time with your family and friends or enjoy your favorite hobby.

This will not only improve your authority and likeability, but it will also make you a calmer, happier teacher.

9. Choose to see only the best.

Negative thoughts—about students, your job, the curriculum, etc.—have a way of bubbling to the surface and revealing themselves in your behavior, body language, facial expressions, and even in the things that you say.

It’s something you can’t hide. And it will severely damage your ability to be an effective teacher.

Great teaching and inspired leadership is predicated on setting aside negative self-talk, refusing to engage in it and choosing instead to see only the best in the people, situations, and circumstances at hand.

It’s a choice, after all. It’s a choice that has a profound effect on how your students view you—as well as on your very happiness.

Do You Have It?

The nine ways to improve authority will separate you from the pack.

They’ll cause students to decide within just a few minutes of sizing you up that you’re someone worth their attention and respect.

They may not be able to put their finger on what it is about you that is special. But they’ll know it’s there, and that it’s different and powerful.

You just have it.

You have that secret sauce, that inexplicable mystery of presence and authority that causes parents and staff members alike to whisper words like charismatic, gifted, and “a natural” when describing you.

But the truth is, it’s nothing more than a set of traits available to anyone.

They’re available to anyone willing to adopt them for themself and dare to be more than just another teacher.

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19 Responses to 9 Ways To Have More Authority Next School Year

  1. Liz0518 July 22, 2017 at 7:47 am #

    Dear Michael,

    I’ve been reading your books this summer to get my classroom management mojo back on track. I used to teach fifth grade and I had that down pat. Two years ago, I moved to second grade and I’ve stumbled a little here and there. I haven’t ever lost control of my class, but there are certain times of day that weren’t as tight as I wanted them. Your book, Dream Class, helped inspire me to reflect and learn more about myself. I’m expecting a great year now. Thanks for all the work you put into your work.

    Liz from Florida

    • Michael Linsin July 22, 2017 at 3:57 pm #

      It’s my pleasure, Liz!


  2. Paul Cheney July 22, 2017 at 9:51 am #

    Michael, I have been following your posts for several years. They are concrete and doable
    with very little effort. I usually recieve your suggestions on Sunday afternoons which help me to supercharge the school week ahead. I have to say that your post with respect to OBSERVATION being the best way to handle disruptions has paid off in spades.
    Keep up the great work.
    Paul from Ma.

    • Michael Linsin July 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

      Will do, Paul. Glad to help!


  3. Mary In Washington July 22, 2017 at 10:07 am #

    Dear Michael, I too have been reading your books and just finished the Audible book Happy Teacher ( which was excellent!). My question is how to you place a student in time out who continues to disrupt during your teaching with out embarrassing and alienating in front of the class? When I ask a student to move to the time out space after giving him/her a warning, some of the students will say “oh Johnny your introuble now” or something of the ilk, even though I will have told them before this is not acceptable. ( I teach Middle school). Thanks

    • Michael Linsin July 22, 2017 at 4:01 pm #

      Hi Mary,

      The short answer is that you hold them (the students making comments) accountable. I’ll be sure to put this topic on the list of future articles.


  4. Jennifer Moerler July 22, 2017 at 10:32 am #

    What do you do if you give a student a letter to take home and it never makes it there?

  5. Nadeem Khan July 23, 2017 at 10:46 am #

    That’s great Sir!
    I’m a teacher in Oman and have been receiving your articles and find em very useful.
    I wonder if we could add some more traitsto the list:
    – be punctual-come and go on time.
    – keep a written record of students as well as your performance as evidence.
    – be friendly but not personal.

  6. Anna Fraser July 23, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

    Hi Michael,
    Thank you for your wonderful articles – I have also read your Classroom Management book which was great. I am a 46 year old graduate teacher and I am doing relief teaching. Given I am only in a class for a day at a time, I am wondering what you suggest to manage students that are disruptive when I haven’t been able to have the time to build in the effective management skills? Looking forward to your response!
    Many thanks,

    • Michael Linsin July 23, 2017 at 3:38 pm #

      Hi Anna,

      I wish I could lay out some strategies for you here in the comment section, but the topic is too big for even an article or series of articles. Because of this, an e-guide for relief/substitute teachers is on the short list of future projects. Stay tuned.


  7. Firozabad School list July 24, 2017 at 1:07 am #

    Thanks for sharing this awesome post, glad to read this.

  8. Virginia Brown July 24, 2017 at 3:10 am #

    I have read your blog and it to great. But what I found that can be frustrating is when you have a student that doesn’t speak English and acts out because of not understanding what you want from them. I learned that patience and a little more understanding of how and what they are going through, helps me to get to know them and they get to know what I want from them. I have been teaching for over 30 years and each year there were different situations to over come but I have to say that those years have taught me many classroom management skills. Your blog gives assurance that I am doing some of the things that you mentioned right. Thanks

  9. Selma van der Ploeg July 24, 2017 at 3:45 am #

    Hi Michael,

    First of all let me say that I am so inspired by your articles! I teach English in secondary school and feel that I am struggling with my classroom management, and so are some of my colleagues. I would love to share your tips and tricks with them, but the fact that they are in English might put them off, since our school is in The Netherlands. Would it be okay for me to translate some of your articles into Dutch?

    Selma, The Netherlands

    • Michael Linsin July 24, 2017 at 6:50 am #

      Hi Selma,

      As long as you make physical copies and don’t make them available on the web, yes.


  10. Janet Epley July 27, 2017 at 10:05 am #

    You are so encouraging. I have to admit the last two years have really taken their toll on me. I teach 6th grade Science and Social Studies. I love World History and I like my Science curriculum. I used to “love” my 6th graders! However, behavior issues that take time from students who need more help have worn me down.Last year, I had a male student in my 1st block that was constantly doing overt things to draw attention to himself. At one point the principal threatened to expel him but did not follow through. Also, one of the assistant administrators went so far as to talk to her husband about adopting him. In other words, there was no support and this student continued his horrible, thoughtless behavior. He was only one! The hardest for me is the constant disrespect. I welcome any advice or guidance. I really want this year to be different!

    • Michael Linsin July 27, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

      Hi Janet,

      I wish I had the time and space here to offer individual advice, but we do have an extensive Difficult Student section and many articles addressing disrespect. When you get a chance, I encourage you to spend some time looking through our archive. You may also want to check out our books or consider one-on-one coaching.


  11. Peter Griffin July 27, 2017 at 4:42 pm #

    Hi Michael,
    Great advice. I’ve read Happy Teacher and Dream class this summer in preparation for September. I teach in a secondary school (so 11-18 year olds), I’ve only worked there two terms and have found it a struggle esp. with the 13/14 year old pupils, the other years not so bad.
    Even though some of your advice maybe more aimed at primary school I believe a number of things resonate with me that you’ve mentioned…
    – don’t take it personally/ don’t get emotional
    – state your rules and consequences
    – always follow through
    – tackle the root cause not the symptoms
    – allow freedom within the clear boundaries

    I feel quite nervous to go through with this but I know I need to. I’ve been told I’m too nice before and I find classroom management at my current school a problem (wasn’t so bad at previous school where I taught for 5 years). I know I have to go outside my comfort zone and follow through with the plan else I’ll not have a good year. I tend to get by by working super hard and being super prepared and maybe trying to circumvent or pre-empt things going wrong. I can’t keep doing this though, it’s killing me as well as all the nervous energy I find myself carrying around.
    As much as changing the way I am around the kids scares me I think feeling like I currently do scares me more.
    I suppose my fear is that by ‘stoking the fire’ things will get even worse and the kids will play up more but If i discipline from a calm space using the techniques you advocate hopefully I will be fine.
    Regards ,


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