My Classroom Management Plan

PDF version for download:  22a CM Plan for me


My Classroom Management Plan

Attitude:  I give my best and expect the students to do the same. 

If they fail, it is not on me if I give my best.  The responsibility is theirs.


Table of Contents                                                            Page

Classroom Management Guidelines                                  2

Authoritative Teaching Style                                              3

Self- Assessment                                                                4

Improving My Teaching Style                                            5

Choosing My Reactions                                                     6

Setting Limits and Delivering Consequences                     8

Managing Hecklers                                                           10

Managing Hostile Students                                               11

Effective Communication Strategies                                  12

Overcoming Stage Fright                                                   13

Frustrations                                                                         13

Games Students Play                                                          14

Improving Student Behavior                                               16

50 Things You Don’t Have to Do                                         17



CM Guidelines

  1. Balance authority and approachability
  2. Model correct behavior, and reward it in students
  3. Be aware of your voice and non-verbal communication; use them to subtly communicate your desired response
  4. Keep cool and don’t be baited
  5. Consult with problem students in private whenever possible
  6. Be friendly but firm (andragogy, not pedagogy)
  7. Be an ally… for their learning (not grade)
  8. De-escalate rather than De-fensive (Listen first. Speak softly)
  9. Revise syllabus policies to be realistic as needed
  10. When in doubt, “fairness rules”
  11. Do not use vague rules.
  12. Do not have rules that you are unwilling to enforce.
  13. Do not ignore student behaviors that violate school or classroom rules (they will not go away).
  14. Do not engage in ambiguous or inconsistent treatment of misbehavior.
  15. Do not use overly harsh or embarrassing punishments, or punishments delivered without accompanying support.
  16. Do not try to solve problems alone if you have serious concerns about a student. Refer to your school psychologist or special education professional.
  17. Be sure the student understands that it is not he/she who is unacceptable, but rather the behavior.
  18. Let the student know exactly what will happen if the problem continues.



Maintain the appearance of control at all times. Use a clear, firm voice.


If you made an error, admit it!


Authoritative Teaching Style

Authoritative, “coaching,” or “selling” style:

  • has behavioral principles
  • has high expectations of appropriate behavior
  • gives clear statements about why certain behaviors are acceptable and others not acceptable
  • has warm student-teacher relationships
  • requires a good degree of direction from the leader
  • explains ideas and the reasons

Summarized as ‘Come with me.’

  • Authoritative teachers, like authoritative parents, employ a blend of high involvement and firm but fair discipline.
  • They care about their teaching and their students, but they reward outcome, not effort.
  • These teachers see students as responsible adults, so although they are always willing to help, they are careful not to create dependency or to let themselves be exploited or manipulated.
  • They reward academic success with praise as well as high grades, they encourage students to try harder when they need to, and they grant requests for special consideration only if disability or other circumstances clearly justify doing so under school policies.
  • They think carefully about their rules and standards, announce them in advance, explain why they are necessary and enforce them consistently.


  • a high level of student involvement
  • a high level of student self-motivation.
  • this teacher has a positive, kind and supportive relationship with her students, but they know when she “means business.”
  • is most clearly associated with appropriate student behavior
  • authoritative style is the one most likely to promote student learning, critical thinking and personal development and least likely to nurture student misbehavior


  • it is least effective when teammates are defiant and unwilling to change or learn


  • the teacher’s personal approach is primarily the factor that creates the climate and his or her daily mood makes the weather.
  • A teacher therefore, possesses a tremendous power to make a student’s life miserable or joyous.
  • a teacher can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration; can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal or can even humanize or dehumanize a learner



1. Maximize structure and predictability in the classroom

I establish and explicitly teach student procedures.

I actively supervise (move, scan, interact, reinforce).


2. Establish, teach, and positively state classroom expectations.

My rules are stated as “do’s” instead of “nos” or “don’ts.”

I explicitly teach and review these expectations or classroom “rules” in the context of routines.


3. Managing behavior through effective instructional delivery

I conduct smooth and efficient transitions between activities.

I am prepared for lessons/activities (filler activities, materials readied, fluent presentation, clear

I provide a clear explanation of outcomes/objectives.

I end lessons/activities with specific feedback.

I am using pauses well during my lecture.


4. Actively engage students in observable ways

I utilize multiple and varied opportunities for each student to respond during my instruction.

I engage my students in observable ways during teacher-directed instruction

I frequently check for student understanding.


5. Evaluate Instruction

I consider and note needed improvements (to lesson) for next time.


6. Use a continuum of strategies to respond to inappropriate behavior

I provide specific, contingent, and brief error corrections (stating expected behavior) for academic and

social errors.

In addition, I use the least restrictive procedure to discourage inappropriate behavior (non-verbals,

proximity, teacher reaction, re-teaching, etc.) and proceed to more restrictive procedures.

I respond to inappropriate behavior in a calm, emotionally objective, and business-like manner.


9. Developing appropriate student relationships

I learn and use student names by the end of week 2.

I speak to students with dignity and respect—even when providing correction!


10.  Paying attention to my “self-care”

Getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising, engaging in hobbies.

Leaving school at school but being productive, not just busy, when at school.


Assess on a scale of “□ need to do”, “+ need to improve” and “P goal achieved”

Improving My Teaching Style

  • Talk less.
  • Lower your voice.
  • Stop repeating.

How my body language should look:

  • erect posture
  • radiating confidence and leadership
  • appearing approachable
  • create the impression that I am a “helping person”
  • who also gives the students opportunities to self-discipline


Use Gentleness

  • Gentleness is respected.
  • Gentleness lowers stress.
  • Gentleness curtails pushback.
  • Gentleness builds rapport.
  • Gentleness feels good.
  • Gentleness Isn’t Weakness


Don’t pick your battles!  Inconsistency leads to disrespect and resentment.  Guide your classroom so that there are no battles to fight.


Remember, especially when you are upset,

The code of communication with people is based on respect and on skill.  It requires

(a) that messages preserve the listener’s as well as the speaker’s self-respect;

(b) that statements of understanding precede statements of advice or instruction.

Strong feelings do not vanish by being banished; they do diminish in intensity and lose their sharp edges when the listener accepts them with sympathy and understanding.


Three steps to survival. – To prepare ourselves in times of peace to deal with times of stress, we should acknowledge the following truths:

  • We accept the fact that sometimes our students will make us angry.
  • We are entitled to our anger without guilt or shame.
  • Except for one safeguard, we are entitled to express what we feel. We can express our angry feelings provided we do not attack the student’s personality or character.


Choosing My Reactions

Human beings are reaction machines.  The most natural thing to do when confronted with a difficult situation is to react – to act without thinking.  There are three common reactions…

Those reactions are:  striking back, giving in, and breaking off.

In reacting, we lose sight of our interests.  …

Often the other side is actually trying to make you react.  The first casualty of an attack is your objectivity – the faculty you need most to negotiate effectively.  They are trying to throw you off balance and prevent you from thinking straight.  They are trying to bait you like a fish so that they can control you.  When you react, you are hooked.

Much of your opponent’s power derives from the ability to make you react.  …

Disruption Tactics
There are many distraction tactics, but the author groups them into three categories:  obstructive, offensive, or deceptive:

Stone walls.  A stone wall tactic is a refusal to budge. The other side may try to convince you that they have no flexibility and that there is no choice other than their position. … Any other suggestion on your part is met with a no.

Attacks. Attacks are pressure tactics designed to intimidate you and make you feel so uncomfortable that you ultimately give in to the other side’s demands.  Perhaps the most common form of attack is to threaten you with dire consequences unless you accept their position … Your opponents may also attack your proposal …, your credibility …, or your status and authority …  Attackers will insult, badger, and bully until they get their way.

Tricks.  Tricks are tactics that dupe you into giving in.  They take advantage of the fact that you assume your counterpart is acting in good faith and is telling the truth.  One kind of trick is manipulating the data – using false, phony, or confusing figures.  Another is the “no authority” ploy, in which the other side misleads you into believing they have the authority to decide the issue, only to inform you after you have given up as much as you can that in fact someone else must decide.  A third trick is the “add on,” the last minute additional demand that comes after your opponent has led you to believe you have already reached agreement.

Going to the Balcony

Even if reacting doesn’t lead to a gross error on your part, it feeds the unproductive cycle of action and reaction.

… the good news is that you have the power the break the cycle at any time – unilaterally.  How”  by not reacting. … Objects react.  Minds can choose not to.

When you find yourself facing a difficult negotiation, you need to step back, collect your wits, and see the situation objectively.  Imagine you are negotiating on a stage and then imagine yourself climbing onto a balcony overlooking the stage.  The “balcony” is a metaphor for a mental attitude of detachment.  From the balcony you can calmly evaluate the conflict almost as if you were a third party.  You can think constructively for both sides and look for a mutually satisfactory way to resolve the problem.

Going to the balcony means distancing yourself from your natural impulses and emotions.

You should go to the balcony at every possible opportunity throughout the negotiation.  At all times you will be tempted to react impulsively to your opponent’s difficult behavior.  But at all times you need to keep your eyes on the prize.

You need to recognize your reaction to a difficult situation.  You should “go to the balcony” to help you maintain your perspective during the discussions.

… you need to recognize not only what they are doing but also what you are feeling.

The first clue that we are reacting usually comes from our bodies.  Our stomachs get tied up in knots.  Our heats start to pound.  Our faces flush.  Our palms sweat.  These are all visceral responses signaling that something is wrong and that we are losing our composure in the negotiation.  They are cues that we need to go to the balcony.


Balcony Strategies

Pause and Say Nothing

The simplest way to buy time to think in the middle of a tense negotiation is to pause and say nothing.  It does you little good to respond when you’re feeling angry or frustrated.  Your judgment is distorted. …

Pausing will not only give you a chance to step up to the balcony for a few seconds, but it may also help the other side cool down.  By saying nothing you give them nothing to push against.  Your silence may make them feel a little uncomfortable.  The onus of keeping the conversation going shifts back to them.  Uncertain about what is going on in your head, they may respond more reasonably.

You obviously can’t eliminate your feelings, nor do you need to do so.  You need only to disconnect the automatic link between emotion and action.  Feel the anger, frustration, or fear – even imagine attacking your opponent if you like – but don’t channel your feelings and impulses into action.  Suspend your impulses; freeze your behavior.  While it may feel like hours, it will probably last only a few seconds.  This may not be easy when your opponent is shouting or stonewalling, but it is necessary for successful negotiation. …

Rewind the Tape

You can only pause for so long.  To buy more time to think, try rewinding the tape.  Slow down the conversation by playing it back.  Tell your counterpart: “Let me just make sure I understand what you’re saying.”  Review the discussion up to that point.

An easy way to slow down negotiation is to take careful notes.  Writing down what your counterpart says gives you a good excuse: “I’m sorry, I missed that.  Could you please repeat it?”

Take a Time Out

If you need more time to think, take a break. … A time-out gives both sides a chance to cool off and go to the balcony.

Don’t Make Important Decisions on the Spot

In the presence of the other person, you are under strong psychological pressure to agree.  One simple rule of thumb will help keep you out of trouble: Never make an important decision on the spot.  Go to the balcony and keep it there.


More Techniques

My challenge will be to keep calm in the initial confrontation.  Other sources have suggested counting to ten while looking thoughtful.  Looking away from the student and rubbing your chin has had the effect of making the student think you are considering some highly effective punishment.  Then they are relieved when you respond pleasantly. But what it is really doing is giving you time to calm down.

You are under no obligation to explain yourself or your decisions to any student who speaks to you or approaches you disrespectfully—nor should you. It only encourages more disrespect.


Setting Limits and Delivering Consequences

  • Setting a limit is not the same as issuing an ultimatum.

Limits aren’t threats

Limits offer choices with consequences

  • The purpose of limits is to teach, not to punish.

Through limits, people begin to understand that their actions, positive or negative, result in predictable consequences.

  • Setting limits is more about listening than talking.

Taking the time to really listen to those in your charge will help you better understand their thoughts and feelings. By listening, you will learn more about what’s important to them, and that will help you set more meaningful limits.

Allow time when giving choices.

Generally, it’s best to allow the person a few moments to make her decision. Remember that if she’s upset, she may not be thinking clearly. It may take longer for her to think through what you’ve said to her.

When enforcing consequences, think like a referee, not a judge.

  1. Enforce rules, not mediate disagreements
  2. Consequences are not personal
  3. Rules are for safety and no interference to learning


It is important to

  1. put the responsibility on the student
  2. allow the student to feel the burden of behaving poorly
  3. give the student the opportunity to feel a sense of regret and a greater desire to follow the rules
  4. Keep your thoughts, comments, and opinions to yourself
    1. Or it causes resentment
    2. And sabotages accountability


Deliver the news of the consequence and turn away.

  1. Informing students of consequences requires an excellent acting job, no matter how angry you feel
  2. You want the students to see the problem with their misbehavior
  3. You do not want them to blame or get angry at you
  4. All this makes the consequence effective
  5. The students choose when the rules need to be enforced, not you


Let accountability do your talking for you.


Managing Hecklers

Choose a strategy:

#1: Never reward interrupting.

#2: Don’t try to be funny.

#3: Manage your own emotional state.   Take a deep breath and stay calm. Remove your emotional attachment to the situation and deal with it in a level and relaxed way.

#4: Let the heckler have their say.

#5: Listen to them.

#6: Actually respond.

#7: Don’t let it get personal.

#8: Be gracious.

#9: Ask them to stop.

#10: Get the rest of the audience on your side.

#11: The last resort: have them removed.

#12: Don’t dwell on it.


Other helpful techniques:

Use reflective listening before you respond — expressing in your own words your understanding of what they’ve said.

Silence — stop speaking and turn and stare at the heckler, everyone else will turn to see what you are looking at

If you get asked antagonistic questions, throw them back to the audience for discussion.

Avoid shooting them down prematurely — by asking probing questions. You can ask questions like, “What exactly are you trying to accomplish or point out?” or “How is your opinion on (topic) relevant to _____?”

Move toward the heckler

Ignorance is not bliss — Ignoring hecklers just makes matters worse.


Managing Hostile Students

Remain Calm.  Try to keep your cool, even when challenged, insulted, or threatened.

Isolate the Individual.  You will be more effective one-on-one. – But never corner them.

Keep It Simple.  Be clear and direct in your message. Avoid jargon and complex options.

Watch Your Body Language.  Be aware of your space, posture, and gestures. Make sure your nonverbal behavior is consistent with your verbal message.

Use Silence. – Do not argue with them.

Use Reflective Questioning.  Paraphrase and restate comments.

Watch Your Paraverbals.  Make sure the words you use are consistent with voice inflection to avoid a double message.

What causes students to behave this way?

Modeling: Children observe hostile-aggressive behavior modeled by parents, teachers, peers, and in the media.

Peer Reinforcement: Behavior such as fighting is reinforced by peers when they take sides in or cheer for individuals who are fighting.

Social Skills Deficit: Children lack the social skills necessary to deal with stressful situations in an assertive rather than aggressive manner.

Low Self-Esteem: They believe that it is not all right to feel anger and frustration and think they are bad people when they do have these feelings.

If you are confronted by a person who has a weapon, keep in mind that a person who threatens you with a weapon hasn’t necessarily decided to use it.

If the person senses that you’re losing control, their behavior will most likely escalate.

  • Take threats seriously. If anyone communicates any possibility of using a weapon against you, assume that they have one even if you can’t see it or verify it immediately.
  • Step back. Try to negotiate permission to take at least three steps away from the individual. If allowed, the increased distance can reduce both anxiety and weapon accuracy.
  • Avoid reaching for the weapon. Attempting to disarm a person with a weapon can be extremely dangerous.
  • Focus on the individual rather than the weapon. When threatened, we tend to focus on the weapon. Shifting your focus to the individual will remind you that the real danger is not in the weapon itself, but in the aggressor’s behavior.
  • Make basic requests to solicit affirmative responses. The more the aggressor says “yes” to you, the less likely the weapon is to be used against you.
  • Buy time. Time is an asset. The longer you can talk to an aggressive individual, the less likely it is that the weapon will be used.


Effective Communication Strategies

Guidelines involved in effectively communicating with a person in crisis when working alone are similar to those important in any crisis situation:

  • Treat the person with dignity, respect, and courtesy.
  • Listen actively to the person.
  • Speak directly to the person.
  • Remain calm.
  • Offer assistance but do not insist or be offended if your offer is not accepted.
  • Do not overassist or be patronizing.
  • Reduce background noise if possible.
  • Be prepared to repeat what you say.
  • Don’t pretend to understand if you do not. Ask the person to repeat what was said.
  • Recall the Integrated Experience*.
  • Be aware of how your own personal space, body language, and paraverbals may affect the individual in crisis.
  • Be patient, flexible, and supportive. Take time to understand the individual and make sure the individual understands you.
  • Focus on the person’s strengths and adapt your communication skills to the person’s needs.
  • Allow the person time to say or do things at her own pace.
  • If warranted, provide reasonable accommodations according to current laws and policies.

*Integrated Experience: how my attitudes and behaviors affect your attitudes and behaviors and vice versa. If my attitude and behavior is positive, it will most likely yield positive results.

The reverse is true as well. If I have a poor attitude or I’m exhibiting rude, disrespectful behavior, my results will likely not be great, and could contribute to someone escalating to verbal aggression or worse—physical assault.

Non-verbal signals:

  • Proximity: being physically closer, leaning forward while seated.
  • Orientation: either face to face or side to side depending on the situation.
  • Gaze: regular eye contact.
  • Facial expression: smiling face is more effective for good communication.
  • Gestures: head nods, encouraging gestures.
  • Postures: open arms, non-cross legged, gives an expression of openness.
  • Touch: appropriate touch, perhaps hand on a shoulder or guidance in movement of a particular skill.

Principles of Active Listening

  • Open body language generally.
  • Good eye contact.
  • Appropriate questioning.
  • Paraphrasing to confirm understanding.
  • Non-judgmental.
  • Empathy, not sympathy.

Overcoming Stage Fright

Move, laugh, and breathe. Before class, release nervous energy by jumping up and down 15 times in the bathroom. It will make you laugh. Shake your limbs to release nervous tension. Breathe slowly and deeply from the belly with your hands on the back of your hips.

“Power pose” for two minutes. After leaping up 72 stairs in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the film Rocky, Sly Stallone raises his fists in what Harvard professor Amy Cuddy calls the power pose. In other words, adopting these postures makes a person feel more powerful.

Deposit Easter eggs into your curriculum. Dreading students’ negative response to a lesson that is conceptually confusing? Plant some surprises in the lesson for you and the class to look forward to. Playfulness is confidence building and contagious.

Start the class off with a ritual. The first couple minutes of a new class can be the most intimidating. I begin all my classes with 60 seconds of good news.

Reinforce content. Bring ancillary materials: posters, handouts, advance organizers, or a PowerPoint presentation.

Don’t cede your center. Avoid interpreting blank student faces as uninterested or angry (see “critical-parent syndrome”).

Commit to an emotion. Right before class begins, recall the last time you were happy and excited. When class starts, you’ll feel more relaxed and animated.

Count chairs. Counting rhythmically will help keep your adrenaline more regulated.

It’s not about you. Remember to concentrate on students learning instead of you performing perfectly.


Frustration Assumptions

I should know this

The students should know this.

I should be better/do better.



Find time to reflect: Talk, write, read, slow down.

Ask questions: Who are my students? What kind of teacher do they need me to be? Shifting the focus from ourselves to our students can better inform our next steps.

Practice self-compassion: Even slow learning is learning. Your pace is yours. Practice mindful breathing and kind self-talk—they will help you see what’s in front of you and make more effective choices.


Games Students Play

Some of the games:

Uproar –“bugging” the teacher with a series of small incidents to force him to blow up at her.  If Mr. Johnson controlled his temper, she had him at bay and could continue to goad him until he did blow up.

“Chip on the Shoulder” — student has a sensitive spot, his “chip”, and creates a ruckus to deflect attention away from himself when that chip is knocked off

Stupid – student would do things that others would find “stupid”, like bringing the wrong book to class or holding the wrong end of the baseball bat.  He did this so often that after a while, people would call him “stupid” while others would make excuses for him.

Clown — This student would imitate Mr. Johnson to make the class laugh.  The book points out that this isn’t necessarily a game, however Mr. Johnson needs to make sure he doesn’t react negatively as long as the behavior is not disrupting class.

Schlemiel — This student causes problems by “messing up” other people’s possessions.  Most reactions fall in two categories, “persecutor” or “rescuer.”  The persecutor gets angry and the rescuer forgives.  In either case, the “Schlemiel” gets the attention he or she seeks and is tempted to behave this way again.

Make Me — This student doesn’t do the required work and, in some way, demands that the teacher force them to do it.

Blemish — Basically fault-finding, no matter how small, by the player who wants the “perfect” teacher.  Generally, not a disruption in the classroom.  Sometimes shows up with administration.

Why Does It Always Happen to Me? — The student feels sorry for himself and complains about how everything wrong always happens to him.

Indigence — The student claims interest in getting the work done as long as the teacher is reminding him of it, but when left to actually do the work, fails to accomplish it and has a lot of excuses.

Why Don’t You – Yes, But — The student has many excuses why the work can’t be done.  The teacher offers suggestions, but the student always has a reason why it won’t work.

Late Paper — The student claims the work is done but forgotten at home and says he will bring it in later.  However, it never makes it in.

Wooden Leg — The student uses a real or imagined disability as an excuse to avoid doing work.

Disciple — The student is willing to work for one teacher but not another.  Often the student sees the preferred teacher as a parent figure, and he wants to please him or her.

Lil Ol’ Me — The student attempts to manipulate the teacher by agreeing with everything he says and proclaiming her life has been changed by the teacher’s words.

Let’s You and Him Fight — The student tries to get two people (presumably the teacher and another student) to argue by making provocative statements.  The trap-baiter then watches the battle ensue.

Miss Muffet — The student tells his parent or non-teacher authority a twisted version of what the teacher said or did in the classroom.  This gives the parent an opportunity to react strongly and become enraged at what was said or done around their darling child.

Let ‘em Have It — The student bothers the instructor repeatedly until the instructor tells him to make an appointment or to quit bothering her.  Then the student tells a parent or non-teacher authority that the teacher doesn’t like him or is picking on him.

High and Proud — The student flaunts foul language, rude or offensive images, or poor behavior, intending to provoke a reaction.

Do Me Something — The student’s attitude is “Try to teach me” with the obvious goal of showing the teacher he won’t be taught.

Ego States

Ego states are normal psychological phenomenon.  … Each type of ego state has its own vital value for the human organism.

In the Child reside intuition, creativity and spontaneous drive and enjoyment.

The Adult is necessary for survival.  It process data and computes the probabilities which are essential for dealing effectively with the outside world. … Another task of the Adult is to regulate the activities of the Parent and the Child, and to mediate objectively between them.

The Parent has two main functions.  First, it enables the individual to act effectively as the parent of actual children, thus promoting the survival of the human race.  … Secondly, it makes many responses automatic, which conserves a great deal of time and energy.  Many things are done because “That’s the way it’s done.”  This frees the Adult from the necessity of making innumerable trivial decisions, so that it can devote itself to more important issues, leaving routine matters to the Parent.

Thus all three aspects of the personality have a high survival and living value, and it is only when one or the other of them disturbs the healthy balance that analysis and reorganization are indicated.  Otherwise each of them, Parent, Adult, and Child, is entitled to equal respect and has its legitimate place in a full and productive life.


(See the book review on “I’m OK, You’re Ok” for physical descriptions of the ego states.)


Improving Student Behavior

“A Simple Way to Improve Listening”

  • Stand in one place.
  • Give your directions once. Normal voice; err on the side of softly.
  • Let them flounder.
  • Remain motionless.
  • Let your leaders take over.
  • Wait.
  • Give the next direction.
  • Continue giving directions once.
  • Make it practice in the beginning.
  • If the first time is a disaster . . . Simply ask for and wait for their attention, then start over from the beginning. They’ll get it.

About Students Talking on the Side

  1. Define it.

They need to know specifically what your definition of side-talking is and what it looks like.

There may be times when you allow it—or a form of it. If so, your students need to know when those times are and what appropriate side-talking looks like. Modeling all forms—right and wrong, appropriate and not—is key to their understanding.

  1. Provide them a tool.

Once your students are clear about what side-talking is, and when it is and isn’t okay, the next step is to empower them with a tool they can use to curb inappropriate side-talking on their own and without saying a word.

The tool you’ll show them is a simple hand gesture they’ll display to whoever attempts to side-talk with them during a lesson, while immersed in independent work, or whenever you deem unacceptable.

  1. Teach them how to use it.

As long as it isn’t culturally offensive, any sign or motion of the hand will do. Crossing the first two fingers and shaking lightly is a good way to go. It’s a gesture conspicuous enough for you to see from across the room and all students can perform it easily.

  1. Practice politeness.

It’s important to emphasize that the gesture is nothing more than a polite reminder to a friend. It’s like saying, “I’m sorry, but I can’t talk right now.” It isn’t aggressive or angry and it should never accompany any talking or admonition.




50 Things You Don’t Have To Do

  1. You don’t have to lecture, yell, or scold.
  2. You don’t have to micromanage.
  3. You don’t have to ignore misbehavior.
  4. You don’t have to be unlikable.
  5. You don’t have to tolerate call-outs and interruptions.
  6. You don’t have to use bribery.
  7. You don’t have to walk on eggshells around difficult students.
  8. You don’t have to give false praise.
  9. You don’t have to send students to the office.
  10. You don’t have to implore your students to pay attention.
  11. You don’t have to say things you don’t truly believe.
  12. You don’t have to be humorless, stern, or overly serious.
  13. You don’t have to repeat yourself over and over again.
  14. You don’t have to work on building community.
  15. You don’t have to beg or coax or convince your students into behaving.
  16. You don’t have to waste time and attention on difficult students.
  17. You don’t have to do more or say more to have better control.
  18. You don’t have to show anger or lose your cool.
  19. You don’t have to lower your behavior standards.
  20. You don’t have to talk so much, so often, or so loud.
  21. You don’t have to have an antagonistic or demanding relationship with difficult students.
  22. You don’t have to shush your students or ask repeatedly for quiet.
  23. You don’t have to give frequent reminders and exhortations.
  24. You don’t have to show hurt or disappointment to get your message across.
  25. You don’t have to guide, direct, or handhold your students through every moment of the day.
  26. You don’t have to be thought of as a “mean” teacher.
  27. You don’t have to use threats or intimidation to get students to behave.
  28. You don’t have to have friction or resentment between you and any of your students.
  29. You don’t have to use behavior contracts to turn around difficult students.
  30. You don’t have to give over-the-top or gratuitous praise.
  31. You don’t have to plead with your students to follow your directions.
  32. You don’t have to use different strategies for different students.
  33. You don’t have to tolerate a noisy, chaotic, or unruly classroom.
  34. You don’t have to talk over your students or move on until you’re ready.
  35. You don’t have to accept being disrespected, cursed at, or ignored.
  36. You don’t have use complicated classroom management methods.
  37. You don’t have to be fearful of holding your students strictly accountable.
  38. You don’t have to hold time-consuming community circles or hashing-out sessions.
  39. You don’t have to be negative or critical to motivate your students.
  40. You don’t have to cover up your personality or hold back from having fun.
  41. You don’t have to tolerate arguing and talking back.
  42. You don’t have to ask two or three times or more for your students’ attention.
  43. You don’t have to offer praise for expected behavior.
  44. You don’t have to rely on parents, the principal, or anyone else to turn around difficult students.
  45. You don’t have to be overbearing or suffocating to have excellent control.
  46. You don’t have to give incessant talking-tos to difficult and disrespectful students.
  47. You don’t have to ask students why they misbehaved or force assurances from them.
  48. You don’t have to have a boring, no-fun classroom to keep a lid on whole-class misbehavior.
  49. You don’t have to be tense, tired, and sick of dealing with misbehavior.
  50. You never, ever have to be at the mercy of your students.