For Teachers Updated April 6, 2018

Classroom Management Strategies for High School Teachers

By The Room 241 Team February 4, 2013

This post has been updated as of December 2017.

Improving your high school class management skills can significantly enhance your experiences as a teacher, and the skills you develop can also help your students to learn more effectively—no distractions, no bullying, no disrespect. Check out these tips and strategies to get started.

Tips to improve class management skills

  • Prepare yourself before the school year starts.
  • Know what you want students to learn.
  • Plan and follow a timeline for teaching while allowing for flexibility.
  • Know in advance what your school policies are and the support you can expect.
  • Be prepared—and willing—to ask for support.
  • Have a record-keeping system prepared for attendance, grades, and behavior.
  • Remind yourself every morning that you are in charge of your classroom.
  • Accept the responsibility for being in charge.
  • Accept the responsibility for teaching your students.
  • Believe in yourself, and believe in what you teach.

Establishing classroom rules

Write them down, hang them up, and hold yourself and your students accountable to any rules you set for your classroom. Some tips and ideas:

  • Class rules should not be complicated—keep them simple for your students.
  • Be consistent and fair with your rules.
  • Make a printed list of the rules and give each student two copies; have one copy signed by the student and the other by a parent.
  • Ensure that any substitute teacher knows and enforces your rules.
  • Have students raise their hands to answer or ask questions.
  • Expect your students to be on time—punctuality is a trait that, as you know, will serve them well in college, the workforce, and beyond.
  • Don’t yell, and don’t allow students to yell at either.
  • Do not tolerate bullying.
  • Altercations will lead immediate action.
  • If your classroom becomes out of control, take names and take action with your principal or the parents.
  • Create a system that provides credit for good behavior. (Try one of these ideas.)
  • Establish an organized system for bathroom breaks.

Practice while you teach

There’s no better time to put your classroom management skills to use than while you’re teaching. Following these tips will help keep your students engaged and help you maintain control of the class.

  • Student attention spans are limited, so break up lectures to keep your students interested.
  • Change the volume and tone of your voice while lecturing. An occasional whisper can command attention.
  • Find subtle ways to refocus students’ attention.
  • If you pass out papers, do so from side to side. Front to back can lead to chaos.
  • Show respect for your students, even if they do not show respect for you.
  • At the end of class, give students an idea of what the next class will involve.
  • Walk around while you lecture.
  • Surprise students with pop quizzes.
  • Break students into small groups for special projects.
  • Require students to participate and complete their share of the project.

Incorporate these tips in your class, or use them as a springboard to come up with your own management ideas. At the end of the day, you know your students and your classroom best. Enforce the rules that are important to you, maintain a classroom you’d be proud of if you were peeking through the window, and remember, you’re the boss!

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