How to Have Control of the Classroom

When your students are energetic and stop listening to you it can be hard to regain control of the classroom. Switching up the seating arrangements may help to keep distractions to a minimum and the attention on you.

As people with careers in teaching know, the energy in the classroom fluctuates greatly from day to day. It can be difficult to control your students when something exciting is coming up, like a weekend or holiday vacation, or when the students are coming back from a long break. Try these tips to gain control of your classroom:

Change starts in the classroom
If your room is a mess, it can be hard for your students (and you) to pay attention. Instead of allowing construction paper scraps and glue sticks to pile up on desks, counters and even the floor, make cleaning a priority. You are not the maid, so be sure to have your students pick up after themselves after each activity or lesson. Use labels to designate areas for different supplies so that students can easily find where to put their items.

The way your room is arranged can have a big effect on how your students are behaving. If Johnny and Cindy love to talk, it may be best to put them on opposite ends of the room so that they are not distracting the rest of the class and each other. If you have students that need extra help, try to put them with peers that will look out for them and offer assistance. Some kids can't help but stare out the window. Keep them engaged by placing them toward the center of the classroom so they are not tempted to spend the day looking outside. Even switching up the arrangement of chairs from rows to groupings can help to gain your students attention and create more successful work habits.

Use discipline and rewards
Many students will behave well if they have a reason to, by providing things like a piece of candy at the end of the day or access to the school store. Rewarding good behavior will enforce positive actions. It is also important to have firm rules, complete with consequences for students that do not follow them. Whether that's a time out, no recess or other actions, sticking to these rules will make for easy navigation between what a student should and should not do in the classroom. 

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a non-profit, accredited, online university.
WGU's Teachers College offers multiple online degree programs for current teachers or those looking to become teachers. To find out more, please visit

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