Conscious Classroom Management

Excerpts from  Conscious Classroom Management by Rick Smith

Effective classroom management is essentially invisible.

When we effectively teach behavior to our students, we enhance their ability to mature.

When students test us, they want us to pass the test.

Students don't have the self-esteem to stand up to 'Ricky'. That's my job.

By reflecting, we naturally speed up the growth process that comes from experience.

Those who gives us help blossom even more than we do.

Ultimately, teachers who are good to themselves deliver the best teaching.

If students sense that their teacher feels good, they will behave better and will perform better academically.

What gives light must endure burning. -Viktor Frankl

Caring does not equal explaining.

A teacher is one who makes herself progressively unnecessary. -Thomas Carruthers

Every class period try consciously to teach at least two procedures- regardless of what the lesson is.

Use visual rubrics for procedures.

Improved organization will decrease misbehavior.

Effective teaching involves a constant assessment "feedback loop" between teachers and students, and a responsiveness of the teacher to what the students need.

Student (b)logbook of daily activities and assignments for absent students turns into a lesson plan guide for teachers.

Delay classwork that's based on homework.

Plan at least three activities per lesson, at least one where the teacher is off-stage and employ shifts in focus and energy at least every ten to twelve minutes.

The brain loves to talk!

Don't call on a student until at least half of the class's hands are raised. Call on every student without acknowledging correctness or incorrectness but by saying"thank you".

As much as possible, build in successes for students. As students gain more confidence, we can make the steps more challenging.

Grades are for parents and college. Feedback is for student learning.

We grow in leaps, sputters, and spurts, which inevitably generates feelings of frustration. If our students push away the frustration, gory don't stick around long enough to receive the wisdom that follows.

Consequences are there to provide students with the guidance they are hungering for.

All choices bear fruit, whether sweet or bitter.

When we assume the best about our students, we see consequences as a way to accelerate their growth.

Frame consequences around student choices.

When we treat students with dignity they are more likely to respond in dignified ways.

Concrete consequences need to be implemented on a consistent basis.

We should give any major policy shift at least two weeks before deciding whether it is working. Remember, it takes us time to adjust- and our students even more time.

Make a list of changes in priority order. Implement number one in your favorite class. Once it works, introduce to other classes. Once change is solid, start with number two.

Teachers learn just like students learn- one step at a time.

The more natural the incentive, the more the students are likely to internalize their motivation.

Rewards are used as extrinsic motivation whereas gifts are an intrinsic expression if appreciation.

Listening is powerful.

If students keep calling out for attention, let's find ways to give it to them that assist the class, rather than disrupt it.

As we assume that students want to learn, let's also assume that sometimes they just need to move.

Five Keys for Permanent Change :
1. Want to change
2. Know how to change
3. Have opportunities to practice changing
4. Be conscious of their choices as their making them
5. Receive ongoing support from the teacher

A recipe for learning: a willingness to take risks, to be lost, to be frustrated, and to have fun.

All human beings have the capacity for greatness.


  1. This is so great and I want to print it out and hang it from my wall for inspiration!!!!

  2. Sounds like a good idea. I have an Encouragement board in my room where I post Christmas cards, thank you cards, picture that students draw me, quotes, etc for my own personal inspiration.

    I'm currently reading Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones so hopefully we can both find some more inspiration!

  3. Do you mind if I link this to my blog? I'm blogging for first and second year teachers and this would be great to add! Let me know...

  4. Go for it Kim! Glad to find another blogger. =)

  5. As a first-year teacher, I have to tell you, this book has proven invaluable to me. Classroom management is one of the most difficult things to succeed in as a new teacher, and this book has given me a lot to think about.

    I have to ask, though, do you agree with Mr. Smith when he says that all students *want* you to teach them how to behave?

  6. Mrs. R,
    I totally agree with Mr. Smith on that point. Students crave structure because it makes them feel secure. They know they are safe because you are the one who will put their foot down, be firm, and enforce the rules. Students want to be treated fairly and they know that will happen with a teacher who enforces the rules. Teachers who are inconsistent, like me, are usually liked, but in the end, not respected. Even in my second year, I have students who told me things about my class last year that could have been avoided if I wasn't such a big baby and I could just put my foot down.

    Most students need consistency from us because they aren't getting it anywhere. They test us, yes, but that's because they want us to pass it. They want to know that we will do what we say and that is where I am failing.

  7. Awesome! That is really good to hear, especially from another new teacher. I have such a hard time being consistent, too. I know it's hurting the kids who need the structure, but when I talked to the other new teachers at my school, they pretty much dismissed the idea that the students want to learn how to behave.
    Thanks for your posts on classroom management! They are really helpful!

  8. Thanks for reading and commenting! I'm glad you are learning because I just love sharing whatever I learn. And I'm a book nerd. lol