Classroom: Managed, Crisis: Averted

Walking in your first day and managing a classroom sounds crazy.  All of us haven’t truly managed a classroom on our own yet, we’re still figuring out how we are going to control a classroom with all the hustle and bustle.  Here’s some tips that might be useful:

  • Classroom/Lab Safety Figured Out Right Away

Lab safety is incredibly important in the science classroom.  Whether you are in a chemistry classroom working with possibly dangerous chemicals or a biology classroom with animal handling; there is always a reason to get lab safety taken care of.  The sooner your students know the rules about doing labs/activities, the more likely horseplay will be under control.

  • Have the Rules Figured Out When the Students Walk In

Pretty self explanatory, make sure the students know the rules day one and then stick to them for the remainder of the year.  Keeping a chart of some kind up to make sure they know the rules to follow if they ever need a reminder!

  • Setup A Procedure for Students

Get students into a routine when you begin class.  It doesn’t have to be anything convoluted, something as simple as sitting in their seats and then asking them about how their days or weekends went.  This gets them to get their talking out of their systems and you begin to feel more approachable to them.

  • Build Trust

Students want to know that you are there for them.  Making yourself out to be someone who doesn’t care means they won’t care about you or your class.  Give your students a reason to see you as a person, not just their teacher (don’t make them think they can push you over though)!

  • Get Them Situated

This one seems odd, but it essentially means give the students a space where they feel comfortable.  If they feel comfortable in your classroom and can trust and respect you (see above), then they’ll listen to you and most of the time, they will behave and want to be in class.  Give them a reason to come into your class, and that doesn’t mean just to learn!

  • Keep them Engaged!

Don’t let your students lose interest in you.  Keep a strong presence and if you see/feel the students are clearly becoming distracted or unable to pay attention, it’s time to change what you are doing.  If you’ve been lecturing for more than 15 minutes, get your students doing an activity, they can’t keep their attention on a lecture for that long!  If students are actively doing something and are interested in what they are doing, then they will manage themselves.


  1. Dillon,
    You had a wonderful blog post this week! I thought you brought up a great point in talking about us not having much experience in managing a classroom yet and that we won’t really experience that until we have our own classroom. I also focused some of my blog on lab safety! It is really important for students to be safe in my classroom so that they are able to learn without getting hurt. I also liked that you talked about having trust in the classroom. If the students are able to trust you and you are able to trust them the classroom will be a healthy environment for learning. What are some ways that you will do to build that trust?

    • Katin,
      Thank you!! We really don’t know what it will be like until we get our own classroom, or at least not until we reach student teaching! Classroom management is hard, and we all find our own ways to do it. Safety is so important! It’s what keeps everyone from getting hurt, but it also keeps things under control in the classroom. I’d build trust by greeting my students, giving them the open ability to talk to me, get to know them, ask about their day, etc. The simple things that you do to make them feel welcome in my classroom!

  2. @Hayley,
    Thanks! Yes! As we’ve come to understand between both our time in field and in the classes that we have taken, when you are engaged the classroom seems to manage itself. Once students are left to their own devices and become disengaged from a lesson, then you are doomed to have a crazy classroom. Trust is a key point in getting our students to stay engaged and remain behaved in the classroom. Getting to know your students and just talking to them individually greatly improves their willingness to trust you!

    Thanks! Lab safety is crazy important, in both a chemistry and biology classroom. If students are unwilling to follow safety instructions, then they will need to be removed from the lab until they can understand. I think when you get past about 5-7 rules, students tend to forget or ignore some of them. If the rules aren’t creatively done and eyecatching, students may not even notice they are there. I would definitely make the rules more student centered, and rules that let them understand what is expected of their behavior are the most important to me!

  3. Dillon-
    I appreciate your focus on lab safety. My high school chemistry teacher had clear rules about behavior in lab, and if there was any issue, she did not hesitate to correct behavior. She was laid back for the most part, but her focus on lab safety really did convey the importance of it in the chemistry classroom. I think posting the rules is important, but how many rules are too many? How would you phrase those rules, and what rules would you focus on?

  4. Dillon,
    I really liked how you included this interconnectedness between managing your classroom and keeping your students engaged. The tweet is awesome and reminds me of some of my old middle school/high school teachers! The section about building trust is so important as well. We can’t just be a dictator in the classroom and yell and expect all of our students to blindly do what we say. There has to be more of a foundation with trust, mutual respect, and comfort in the classroom. Great post!

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