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Classroom Management: Keep Your Class Running Smoothly

Janelle Cox

Have you ever sat in on another teacher’s classroom and watched them as they work? It’s amazing to see how much they are expected to juggle in just one day. The sheer amount of tasks that they need to perform can give someone in the maternity ward a run for their money. Performing these jobs, and watching them be executed are two different things. As a teacher, you may not have even realized how much you really need to get done in order for your classroom to run smoothly.

Here are 10 classroom management habits that veteran teachers keep, in order for their classrooms to run like a smooth, oiled machine.

1. Get Ahead of Schedule

While planning is the one of the best classroom management strategies that you can do to ensure that your classroom will run smoothly, getting ahead of the schedule and planning throughout your vacations and breaks will help too. All you have to do is take one day or a few short hours and just think about what you can do with your students. By getting ahead of yourself, you will always keep your prepared. 

2. Classroom Management: Plan

While most teachers know that they have to plan, effective teachers know that they must overplan. Overplanning ensures that you will have always something for the students to do whether you are need of a classroom activity for when there is a substitute teacher, or you need a quick lesson when you have five minutes to spare in between classes. Planning for the unexpected, as well as for when students do not understand concepts, or for early finishers, is a must.

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3. Create Adaptable Lessons

Create lessons plans that are flexible and that can be adapted to fit every student’s needs. These lessons should be able to be shortened or lengthened at any time, as well as be flexible enough to differentiate learning. Being adaptive to your students’ learning allows you to take the time that you need for any teachable moments, as well as it doesn’t make feel like you have to always stick to your lesson plan.

4. Establish Routines

It’s important to establish routines for just about everything in your classroom from the moment your students enter on the first day of school. Create a routine for how students enter and exit the classroom to how they should hand in their homework and line up for specials. Once you create the routine, practice it daily until students are able to do it on their own.

5. Set Expectations

Just as you established daily routines, you must also set clear expectations for your students to follow. Let them know what you expect for everything and post clear signs everywhere so that they will always have a guide to follow.

6. Keep Students on Their Toes

Just as it’s important to plan, be flexible, and establish clear expectations and routines, it’s just as important to keep students on their toes. This can be by changing up your routine every now and then, giving students a “brain break,” or even just adding some variety to your lessons. Children have a very short attention span, and it’s the teacher’s job to keep them engaged at all times.

7. Keep Organized

Have you ever heard of the saying, “An organized classroom is a successful classroom?” Well, this statement holds true. An organized classroom is essentially the key to a well-run classroom. It not only makes it easier to find things so you’re not wasted time finding materials, but it also keeps your students feeling more calm when they are in a stress-free environment that practically runs on its own.

8. Check for Understanding

It’s extremely important to check for student understanding. Do not assume that all students understand what you are saying or what you mean. A great way to assure that you know students understand is to have them hold up one finger or a small chalkboard after each question that you ask. It’s also important that students feel safe and free to talk and ask questions in your classroom.

9. Stay Focused

In order to ensure that your classroom will run smoothly, you must stay focused on not only what you need to do, but yourself and your actions. It’s easy to get upset with a student and yell at them, but it’s important to know yourself and how you react to all situations and to take a step back and control your emotions. Your goal is to stay focused on your actions and reactions, as well as what you’re in the classroom to do -- which is to teach your students so that they can go out into the world and be successful.

10. Connect with Students

If you want a smooth-running classroom, then you need to be respected by your students. The best way to do this is to connect with them. Learn about them and their interests. Ask questions and be supportive. Take the time to really get to know each and every one of them beyond just their names and a few quick facts.

What do you do to keep your classroom running smoothly? Share your thoughts under the comment section, we’d love to hear from you. You never know, your tips may be just the thing a fellow teacher needs to hear.

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 a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.