So You Think You Want to Teach Part 4: Classroom Management

Here’s 4th part of the So You Think You’d Like to Teach School series. The idea for this series came out of some questions I’ve gotten from folks interested in making teaching their profession.

Classroom Management

How does one teacher get a room full of students to all cooperate at the same time? How does one teacher get a room full of students from the classroom to the library and back? How does one teacher coordinate a classroom full of students of all abilities, temperaments and backgrounds to work together as a community?

In a nutshell, that’s classroom management.

One of my teacher credential text books asserted 90% of student misbehavior is teacher caused. If that us true, we have a lot of responsibility for how our school days go, regardless of who is in our class.

Some of the books I have used over the years, I’ve included below. Please click on the book image for more information on each title.

I consider these books to be an essential starting point for effective classroom management. Obviously you’ll find your own way, but these books can help get you started.

I’m not going to lie, I have a little crush on Fred Jones. His sense of humor kills me. If you have the opportunity to take a training with him (or his videos), please do. My students have always responded well to daily (sometimes twice daily!) Preferred Activity Time (PAT). It keeps students focused on completing their tasks as teams in a timely manner and me focused on positive behavior.

“Pay now or pay later” is Mr. Wong’s philosophy about spending time in the beginning of the year to teach (and practice – over and over and over again) procedures in your classroom. Effective procedures make for an organized, structured and sane classroom.

This book was my bible while I was sub teaching. I read it twice during that year and again while I was student teaching and have returned to it again and again during my career.

Fair, firm and consistent is the message I got from Setting Limits in the Classroom. This is another training I felt worth my time. Lisa Stanzione’s presentation brought the book to life – although I think it stands on its own.

The text for a graduate level classroom management course and it gave such good advice I sent it to my dad. It is as much a parenting book as it is a teaching book.

Another book that is written primarily with parents in mind, however these methods can easily be used in the classroom.


What are your favorite kid management books? What is your go-to read for classroom management or parenting? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Do you have any teaching questions? Curious about anything related to classroom or yoga teaching? Let me know and I’ll do my best to answer it here.

Stay tuned for more in the So You Think You Want to Teach series: Taming the Homework Beast, Parents: Friend or Foe


Be sure to click on the Life as a School Teacher link below for all the posts in the series.

4 thoughts on “So You Think You Want to Teach Part 4: Classroom Management

  1. I just signed up for the CBEST so I can start substitute teaching the beginning of May. Setting Limits in the Classroom is definitely on my list of books to read!

  2. A silly phrase that sticks in my mind that goes with my classroom management is “The best defense is a good offense”. That’s true on two levels. 1) You must have rules, structure and procedure in place so that students know what is expected of them. One teacher I knew went crazy when students crumpled paper and threw it away. He finally decided to teach the students that instead of crumpling in his classroom, students were expected to fold their paper three times before throwing it away. Behavior issue for the teacher, procedure solution. 2) Lesson plan, lesson plan, lesson plan. If your lesson plan sucks, the kids will let you know with poor behavior.

    On another note, a book that has recently changed my practice is Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning: Classroom Practices for Student Success by Sharocky Hollie. It helped changed my thinking about a lot of perceived misbehaviors and start to recognize them as cultural behaviors. And then provide more appropriate opportunities to incorporate those cultural behaviors into the classroom. This would be a great book for elementary teachers in a diverse classroom, lots of reading and vocabulary strategies.

  3. Nice suggestions Tams! I have almost all of those books myself. The setting limits guy writes several geared toward parents as well- something about setting limits for the spirited child. I don’t know if you have PBIS down there but we do up here (developed at university of oregon and all…) so I go to the conference whenever I can. I attended a CHAMPs workshop that was very helpful to clarify my expectations for each teaching area (whole group, individual work, tests, etc.) and is helping me isolate those areas that I can improve or at least the areas that I haven’t made my expectations clear. My classes always seem to have a blurting problem- totally my fault. I’ve challenged them to a “teacher vs. student game” to earn heads-up seven-up. I get a point when they blurt, they get a point when they follow my cues (either to raise a hand or whole class shout out). I also get a point if they verbally correct a peer that just blurted! What I’ve learned most over the years is that I absolutely MUST teach them how to behave every single day just like I teach them to read, write and do math.

  4. Ahh, so timely! Thanks for the tips. I have the Wong book, but I’ve been meaning to get Jones. And I love seeing the other recommendations. This is especially important right now because I have been struggling a little with management (fine in most classes, but I think it could all be better over all). I think it’s one of the more difficult aspects of teaching to learn. Today, I had to write several referrals to the office and make three phone calls home about consistent, low-level yet distracting behavior. Argh. I now have these on my list of things to do once I finish my big student teaching “reflect on my video tapes and student progress” project.

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