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5 Common Classroom Management Mistakes

Organizing and maintaining a classroom can be challenging and complicated. Each year, teachers are tasked with teaching a new group of students with diverse backgrounds and varying personalities. It can be difficult to adapt classroom management techniques and solutions when circumstances, classes, and teaching situations often change. Teachers, both new and experienced, may feel overwhelmed.

When teachers and educators are overwhelmed or stressed with the prospect of classroom management, they often make decisions and implement policies that are harmful to academic growth, their students, and themselves. Below are listed the top five most common classroom management mistakes. As teachers seek to avoid these errors in classroom management, they will feel more at ease with their students, their classes will be more effective, and they will be able to develop into effective educational professionals.

Jumping to Conclusions

In every aspect of life, it is easy to jump to conclusions. In school, there will be situations where students argue, are disruptive, or cause issues with other students in their class. Teachers may easily get upset, assume that a certain student is to blame for the disruption, and - punish that student , despite the student’s claim that it wasn’t their fault. While it is easy to quickly conclude that a certain individual is at fault, teachers should never administer punishment or send their students to office administration unless they are certain that the student in question instigated the offense (Holden).

When teachers wrongly accuse their students of committing an offense, it creates tension between the teacher and student, disrupts friendly relationships, and causes embarrassment for the accused student. The accused students also undergo unnecessary punishment that wasn’t intended for them, causing feelings of insecurity and doubt and a negative relationship with school and learning.

When teachers wait to administer rebuke or discipline until they can definitively recognize who caused the disruption, the student will learn from their mistakes, take responsibility for their actions, and be less likely to commit the offense again in the future.

Lack of Organization

Teaching requires tactical organization in creating a functional, effective layout and a classroom management plan for each classroom. Teachers, when preparing for their daily lessons, may forget to organize the classroom layout and intended plan of management. When teachers do not label or designate appropriate places for school supplies, desks, etc., students will be confused, ask superfluous questions about the location of needed materials, and waste precious class time looking for materials they need to learn and complete their coursework (Cox). Additionally, when teachers do not have a designated plan to manage their classrooms and promote good behavior, their students will disregard the rules, lose academic growth, and be less receptive to teacher instruction. Ultimately, a lack of organization results in wasted time, non-receptive students, and general chaos in the classroom.

To avoid this mistake, teachers should spend practical time determining the layout of their classrooms. They should add labels to drawers, cupboards, or stations that hold paper, pencils, pencil sharpeners, crayons, or other school supplies so it is easy to find the necessary class supplies (Cox). Additionally, teachers should create and communicate to stduents aclassroom management plan and have a system for appropriately disciplining students before a situation arises. Doing so will contribute to a better learning environment and help students effectively learn.

Failure to Communicate Expectations

When working with children or students of any age, it is important for teachers to clearly express their expectations to their pupils. When teachers fail to discuss their rules, classroom functions, and expectations during the first days of school, their students are more likely to disobey, make mistakes with heavy implications, and break or misuse classroom items (Barile). To avoid accidents, disruptions, or miscommunication, teachers should make sure their students clearly understand the rules and expectations from the first day of school.

To effectively communicate their expectations and classroom rules, teachers can print a syllabus or disclosure that explains the rules of the classroom. Teachers can also include disciplinary measures that will be taken so that students are aware of the possible consequences of their misbehavior (Barile). Teachers should have their students show their parents the class disclosure, syllabus, or list of rules so that parents, students, and teachers are aware of and all agree on how education and discipline will be managed throughout the school year.

Having Complex Rules

Because of students’ ongoing cognitive development, they are less likely to remember long lists of complex rules or classroom expectations. Teachers often make the mistake of having too many rules or create a long list of classroom expectations that are overcomplicated or difficult to remember. This only leads to confusion and frustration and makes it difficult for students to learn when they are overburdened by extensive rules that they don’t understand.

Teachers should focus on keeping their classroom rules practical and simple. It is best to select 3 to5 classroom rules on which to focus. Educators can print out these rules, put them on posters, post them in the classroom, and discuss them with their students. Class rules should be easy phrases such as:
  • “Raise your hand to ask a question.”
  • “Be kind to your classmates.”
  • “Listen when the teacher is talking.”
  • “Use kind words.”
  • “Clean up when you make a mess.”
  • “Stay in your seat until recess.”
  • “Be quiet when someone else is talking.”
As teachers implement these concise and easy-to-understand rules, students will quickly feel more at ease in their classrooms and will better understand and follow the classroom management plan.

Not Forming Relationships with Students

Educators often fail to develop relationships with their students. Teachers express little interest or concern in the lives of their students, do not compassionately discuss their grades or misbehavior, and do not seek to be friendly with their students or their students’ parents. Doing so creates dissonance in the classroom, causes tension, and makes it more difficult for students to learn effectively.

Teachers should attempt to support their students, express concern about their lives, and caringly interact with them when discussing schoolwork or classroom behavior. As teachers express compassion and kindness with their students, they will encourage positive behavior and contribute to a safe learning environment.

As teachers avoid jumping to conclusions and being disorganized, seek to communicate their expectations, establish simple and concise rules, and form positive relationships with their students, their students will achieve greater academic growth. Students will feel safe and comfortable in their learning environment and be motivated to succeed, contributing to positive change in their homes, schools, and communities.

Holden, Shannon. edWeb.net, “Common Classroom Management Mistakes and How to Avoid 
to-avoid-them/. June 29, 2018.

Cox, Janelle. TeachHub.com, “10 Classroom Management Mistakes to Avoid,” https://www.te

Barile, Nancy. Hey, Teach!; Western Governors University, “8 Classroom Management Mistakes 
Teachers Make at the Beginning of the Year,”https://www.wgu.edu/heyteach/article/8-

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