An effective classroom management plan has to not only work well on paper, but also be easily executable under duress. The classroom is an unpredictable place for even the best teachers.
So, how can you build an unbreakable classroom management plan? By keeping these five foundational principles in mind. The following guide will serve as a template to building a classroom management plan that works best for you.
5 easy steps to build a classroom management plan template
1. Identify your goals
To run a class smoothly, you’ll need to have a clear sense of what student behaviors are worth rewarding and which you absolutely will not tolerate.
Write them down on a piece of paper, side by side in two lists. This will become the primary foundation of your effective classroom management plan. If you have trouble, start by picturing your dream classroom — what qualities and behaviors are your students demonstrating? Similarly, what actions might jeopardize that successful environment?
2. Tier the consequences
If every time a student acts out, they’re sent to the principal, they might be shocked at first — but the impact will wear off fast.
Instead, decide on three tiers of consequences for negative behavior as part of your classroom management plan. Is the first consequence a verbal warning in front of the class, or privately after the lesson? Is the second a timeout, an extra assignment, or detention? Is the third a letter or phone call home? Consider your students’ ages, too, when deciding which three consequences you’re going to employ. A high school classroom management plan might look a lot different than one designed for elementary school.
Outlining these rules and consequences upfront will help keep you from going overboard with punishments, too, when students test your patience and emotions.
3. Make your rules public
Students become more open and accountable for behavior when they know the risks that are at stake.
Don’t tell your students the rules and consequences once on a handout they’re likely to lose or forget about. Make a poster that’s easily visible in your classroom and call attention to it year-round, each time you enforce a consequence.
The more straightforward you make discipline for your students, the more likely they are to respect you, and the better your classroom management plan will work.
4. Respond to positive behavior, too
Discipline is only one side of the coin of an effective classroom management plan: It’s important to reinforce positive behavior as well. Classcraft, for example, entails both risks and rewards. Look at your list of positive behaviors worth commending and decide on three tiers of rewards, just like you did with consequences.
You can keep these rewards to yourself if you’d like, instead of writing them on your rules poster, in order to keep them a pleasant surprise for students each time they happen. These little moments will help make your classroom an overall happier and welcome place, and they’ll encourage students to strive toward more positive behavior and attitudes.
5. Consistency is key
Even the best classroom management plan can fail without one key ingredient: consistency.
Students will take your rules, consequences, and rewards more seriously when you handle them consistency, and they’ll come across as fair this way, too. This embodies the importance of a classroom management plan. The more you follow the plan you set, the better results you’ll see and the more they’ll be integrated organically into your classroom.