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Strategies For An Out of Control Classroom

An out of control classroom can come in many forms and at any time during the school year. Typically, an out of control classroom presents itself in any of the following ways:

  • Out of control behavior
  • Unclear procedures/practices
  • A lack of learning time.
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The bell rings. Students flood into your room. Questions are being thrown at you left and right and you can’t seem to catch a Hail Mary Pass. If every day is starting to feel more trying than the last, you might have an out of control classroom.

If every day is starting to feel more trying than the last, you might have an out of control classroom. Click To Tweet

All of the above can happen for a variety of reasons such as:

  • A “different” class
  • Bending procedures
  • Lack of organization

The good news is, if you have an out of control classroom, it is still possible to lasso up those students and create a classroom of peace and active learning.

Strategies to create an “in control” classroom

So, how can you manage an out of control classroom? There are several ways to take back your classroom starting with checking your organizational strategies.

Destination Organization:

While it may seem like students just aren’t listening, one way to ensure you are setting your students up for success is by checking your organization systems.

An out of control classroom can become a problem quickly and easily if there are no organization strategies put into place. You should have a procedure to help students stay organized through the day. These procedures should be in place for:

  • Coming into the classroom (at any time during the day)
  • Lining up to leave the classroom for any school day activity be that recess, lunch, or an “extra” class like music or PE.
  • Going to the bathroom/getting a drink
  • Starting a new subject
  • Turning in homework

Making sure students have a procedure for all of the above (and anything else) is an important start to helping control potential chaos in your classroom.

Practice Makes Perfect:

Once you have organization strategies in place, one of the best things you can do as a teacher is practice the procedures and learning practices that you have. For example, set up a morning routine and then have students practice that morning routine more than once in a day.

It can take up to three weeks to make a habit, but you can expedite that time by practicing coming into the classroom, looking at the board, and getting out the listed materials.

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Behavior Redirection:

Sometimes behavior of a particular class can just make it feel like nothing is going to work. When it’s one of “those” years and students are displaying out of control classroom behavior, one of the best things you can do is create a behavior plan to redirect their behavior.

There are several ways to redirect behavior. The following strategies can help you redirect behavior and help take control over an out of control classroom.

  • Model positive behavior in your classroom. If you have out of control students, one of the best things you can do is model good behavior yourself. Always be polite and ensure the rules you set are rules that you are following yourself.
  • Create a behavior visual for students so they can see what kind of day they are having. Personally, I would not put this behavior visual on display in the classroom. Instead, put something on the student’s desk that is maybe magnetic and you can put a yellow magnet down for “warning” and a red magnet down for “see me at recess.” This way students are not embarrassed but you can still manage behavior.
  • Listen to student concerns. If it’s one student who is sparking anarchy and therefore an out of control classroom, try talking to that student one-on-one and creating an individualized plan. It might be a good idea to bring in the school counselor or a parent during this meeting.
  • Praise students who are doing well. Often times when students are acting out, it’s because they want attention. Recognize positive behavior simply through saying “thank you” to those who are doing what you want them to. If you are going to use this strategy, make sure you praise all of the students when they start doing the behavior you want them to do.

There are many behavior strategies you can do to help an out of control classroom. If you already have a behavior plan in place and students are still displaying out of control classroom behavior, it may be a good idea to re-evaluate and revamp or replace your current plan.

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Preventative Measures:

While putting organizational strategies into place and redirecting behavior can help a classroom that is already out of control, it is truly best to make sure you use preventative measures to avoid having an out of control classroom.

Some prevention strategies include:

  • Having organizational strategies (and back-up strategies) ready on the first day of school.
  • Practice organizational strategies and classroom procedures from the get-go
  • Communicating behavior expectations in your classroom
  • Modeling your classroom expectations throughout the school year
  • Keeping your expectations firm.
  • Following through with consequences (good and bad)

Having an out of control classroom is never ideal and having to manage one can burn a teacher out really fast. By ensuring you’re ready at the beginning of the year, you may be able to prevent an out of control classroom from every being a thing.

But, there are times when it cannot be helped due to the personalities in your classroom or a number of other things such as family dynamics that are out of your control.

If your classroom becomes out of control at some point in the year, the best things to do is reevaluate what you are doing and ensure you are not “bending” on the procedures you set up at the beginning of the year, revamp organization strategies, and practice the changes or revisit the original procedures.

For organizational tips, visit this post on keeping organized in the classroom!

Healthy Teacher: Getting Organized

Until Next Time Educational Rockstars,

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2 Responses

  1. Really great ideas! Very actionable tips, and I love how it focuses on creating an environment that promotes a “controlled” classroom rather than stopping one that is already out of control.

    1. Thank you Josh! One thing I strongly believe in is having a plan in place to prevent CHAOS from creeping up on ya!!! Happy Teaching!

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