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Classroom Management: 10 Reasons Why Your Students are Unhappy

Janelle Cox

It’s true that happier students get better grades. Studies have found that happiness is positively associated with a student’s GPA. So if you are finding that your students are unhappy, then you need to change your classroom management to address the situation as quickly as you can. The quality of school is measured by how happy the students are. With all of the emphasis on schoolwork and standards tests these days, it’s easy to forget to make your students happy. Here are 10 reasons why your students may be unhappy, and some classroom management ideas for how you can change that.

1. You Don’t Pay Attention to Your Students Via Classroom Management

One of the main reasons for unhappy students is that teachers don’t take enough time to talk to their students. Just a simple “Hello” or a quick handshake as students enter the door in the morning can really show students that you care. Before the school year even begins, you can greet your students with a welcome letter. This will help you build a caring classroom community before students even walk into the door. Students will not only feel welcome, but they will feel appreciated as well. Remember, a caring classroom is a happy classroom.

2. You Do the Same Lessons Over and Over Again

We get it, when a lesson works, it works. But, if you keep doing the same type of lesson over and over again, don’t you think it’ll get boring? Try and change it up and give your students something to look forward to. Think about the last time that you planned a vacation. How did you feel on the days leading up to it? Giving students something to look forward to will make them happy. It can be something as little as no homework for the weekend, or a classroom party filled with games and treats. Just try and change it up every now and then you’ll be able to turn those frowns upside down!

3. You Never Took the Time to Get to Know Your Students

Again, your students may be unhappy because they don’t feel that you have a connection with them, because you never took the time to really get to know them. It’s always nice to take the time to really get to know each and every one of your students. This will not only help them feel more comfortable in class and help you build a caring classroom community, but it will also help you understand each child better, which can help you when planning your lessons.

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4. You Never Do Anything Unexpected

Your students may be unhappy because you always stick to the routine, which can make life in school get boring pretty quickly. If you really want to make your students happy, then invite a few students to come and each lunch with you (they must earn it, of course). Many teachers find that their students tend to open up a little more when they are in an environment where they feel relaxed and comfortable.  Each month, hold a lottery (to make sure everyone gets a turn) and randomly pick about five students to come eat lunch with you. The benefit it that you will see your students in a different light -- happy!

5. You Take Everything Too Seriously

Are you the teacher who never laughs and tends to take everything a little too seriously? If so, then you need to lighten up and try laughing. Who doesn’t like to laugh? Use any opportunity you have to inject humor in the classroom. Tell a joke, a funny story, or come into school with a silly hat on. You can even designate every Friday as silly hat day, and come to school each week with something different on your head. The kids will look forward to what you will wear next, as they beam with excitement and laughter.

6. The Only Sound Students Hear is Your Voice

Your students may have a permanent frown on their face because they only sound they hear all day long is your voice. Try incorporating some music into your classroom to help give your students something different to hear. Research has shown that music affects our feelings and energy levels. It’s also a powerful tool to make us happy. Whenever you get the opportunity to incorporate music into your classroom, do so: Your students will thank you for it. It will make you happier as well.

7. You Never Give Students Choices

Students are always being told what to do, and rarely get the chance to make any choices for themselves. Try giving your students a choice in what or how they will learn. This is a great way to make your students happy. It also shows them that you trust them, and it gives them a little independence.

8. It’s All Work and No Play

Is your classroom the type of classroom that is all work and no play? If so, then that may be the reason why your students are unhappy. According to research, play is an important part of a child’s development. In fact, it helps them grow physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally. It also keeps them healthy, burns off energy, and gives them exposure to learn through others. It’s a great creative outlet, and it teaches children how to interact with others. So next time you want to cancel recess, think again.

9. You Never Give Your Students a Break

Breaks are essential for your students. In fact, research has proven that students learn best when they are given the opportunity to rest their brain throughout the school day. If you find that your students are unhappy, then try a brain break. The purpose of a brain break is to refocus students so they will learn better. After each lesson, take the time to give students a quick brain break, all it takes is about five minutes and you will definitely see a happier classroom.

10. You Don’t Give Students Time to Socialize

Many teachers feel that school is for learning and not socializing. However, providing opportunities for students to get social with their peers, you’ll see that students will establish better relationships with their classmates, which can help promote a positive classroom environment. Getting social and talking about things other than schoolwork can also make students happy. Try giving students 10 minutes at the end of the day to just talk with their classmates. You can even invite the classroom next door to join in on the fun.

Are your students unhappy? How do you use classroom management to make them happy? Do you have any tips or ideas that work well for you? Please share with us in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

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 Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at