Effectively managing student behavior, keeping students on task and preventing disruptions cut down on wasted academic time, increases student learning, and maintains sanity and order in the classroom. According to Wong, author of First Days of School, classroom management has a tremendous impact on student achievement. Educational research supports Wong’s assertion that effective classroom organization and management during the first weeks of school are crucial to student achievement. Developing your own classroom management philosophy involves studying and observing others’ approaches and philosophies and shaping them to fit you and your students.

Step 1

Assess your personality, teaching style and needs. Be honest with yourself and answer these questions. How much noise can you tolerate in your classroom? What are your teaching priorities and goals? What are your expectations of yourself as a teacher? Know your limits with your patience and boiling point.

Step 2

Assess your students’ personalities and needs. Consider your students’ demographics and cultural norms. Do you have any students with learning disabilities, ADHD, or severe emotional challenges?

Step 3

Familiarize yourself with your school as well as your school district’s rules and procedures. Talk to your principal about what he/she expects to observe during a walk though.

Step 4

Read about other classroom management ideas from veteran teachers. There are also many websites online full of classroom management ideas. For example, Alan Feldman, a professor at the University of Massachusetts has posted a sample classroom management plan at the School of Education’s website.

Step 5

Talk to successful teachers at your school to find out what works for them.

Step 6

Incorporate the rules, procedures and consequences that will meet students’ needs, yet also conform to your comfort zone and teaching style.

Step 7

Post your rules, procedures, and consequences on a large poster board in a very visible location. Use attention grabbing colors and letters.

Step 8

Teach the rules and procedures to your students. Not only discuss the rules, but also model what appropriate behavior looks like. Clearly explain your expectations and consequences of broken rules. Explain rules and policies to parents during back to school night and again during conferences. Have parents sign a printed copy of your classroom expectations, rules, procedures and consequences

Step 9

Adjust your classroom management policies when certain rules and procedures aren’t effective. Oftentimes the classroom dynamics change from year to year, so your approach may have to be different. One year you may have a group of angels, and the next you may have a rowdy group of challenging students. Be flexible and willing to change.