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5 Ways You May be Sabotaging Your Classroom Management

Janelle Cox

You’ve created an effective classroom management plan, from establishing rules and routines to designing effective lessons that are engaging. But is it still working? Can you be sabotaging your classroom management plan and not even know it? It’s time to look at your daily habits and re-evaluate your plan. If you are doing any of the things listed below, then it’s time to make some changes. Here are a few ways that you may be sabotaging your current classroom management plan and what you can do to fix it. Take these suggestions and put them to good use to ensure you have a successful plan that will work all year long.

Classroom Management: Your Emotions Get the Best of You

We’ve all had our moments when our emotions get the best of us. If you didn’t have them, then you wouldn’t be human. However, feeling a loss of control when you’re in the classroom is the last emotion that you ever want to evoke. Students can tell when you’re upset or frustrated. For many people, it’s easy to tell because it’ll show on your face. If your emotions are getting the best of you and you can feel yourself yelling, then you need to get yourself out of the situation immediately. Your goal is to stay calm and remind yourself that you’re in control. Try walking away and taking a few deep breaths to help you regain your composure. When you feel yourself calming down, then you can go back into the situation and deal with any negative behavior in a more positive manner.

You Handle Student Misbehavior Publicly

If you tend to handle students’ behavior in front of the classroom, then you are definitely damaging your classroom management plan. Addressing any student misbehavior publicly is not only embarrassing for the student, but for you as well. It shows the student that you don’t have any respect for them, and it may also make the student feel uncomfortable as well as devalued. Instead, try talking to the student in private, or write them a note and place it on their desk that you want to speak with them after class. Your goal as the role model and classroom authority figure is to not make a spectacle in front of the students’ classmates. Remember, your students are always watching, so try always keep your composure and never make a scene.

You’re Inconsistent

Are you the type of teacher to tell your students one thing, then never follow through with it? If so, then you may be sabotaging your classroom management plan. Consistency is key when it comes to classroom management. This means that everything that you say and do inside of the classroom needs to be consistent. Being consistent can be a very powerful tool for you. When your students know that you keep your word, then your word will have more value with them. It will help you maintain a stable learning environment. If you’re always inconsistent with your words or teaching methods, then you may find that student misbehavior will occur, students will lose respect for you, and students may also test you every chance that they get. Never make a rule that you’re not willing to reinforce and never make a promise that you cannot keep.

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You Focus Too Much on the Problems

If you find that the first word that comes out of your mouth is always “Don’t,” then you’re focusing too much on the problems in class. It’s normal to want to disengage any classroom interruptions or misbehavior, but when all of your attention is focused on the students who misbehave, then the rest of the class doesn’t get your attention. Try focusing your attention more on what the students are doing “Right” versus what they’re doing wrong. When you see them doing the right thing, then tell them. For example, if one of your students is always getting up from their seat, then when they’re sitting down for longer than a few minutes, you can say, “Great job staying in your seat.” A simple positive compliment will go much further than always telling someone what they’re doing wrong.

You’re Trying Too Hard

If you feel like you need to control or micromanage everyone and everything that happens in your classroom, then you’re trying too hard. Sometimes, the more you try and control something, the more it will resist. You must tell yourself that you cannot control everything or anyone. One thing that you are able to control is yourself and the way that you react. Try focusing on that. The more that you focus on yourself and the way that you react to your students or any misbehavior, the more that you’ll be setting a good example for the students to follow.

No one ever said that classroom management would be easy. It can takes years or even decades to create the perfect plan, and even then it may need some restructuring, depending upon the students in your class. Try replacing your old habits with the suggestions made above, and you may just find your classroom management plan will be a success.

Do you have any classroom management tips or comments that you’d like to share related to this topic? Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below, we’d love to hear what you have to say.


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.