3 P’s of Every Day Classroom Management

Every teacher, new and veteran, has faced the classroom management dilemma. A day where the classroom has just imploded. Yelling, laughing, and throwing erasers across the room. A full-time teacher can give a certain look, a certain tone, a sharp whistle, or flicking the lights off and on a few times, will bring the Wild Things back from the brink.

But what do you do when those aren’t your full-time students? As substitute teachers, we know how we are perceived. The students hear that they’re having a sub and immediately hope you step into the room, pushing the TV cart. Kids, no matter the age, will sometimes act out when a sub is in the room. Whether you’re the full time teacher, or today’s sub, the Three P’s of Classroom Management will help you get through the day, and maintain a calm and productive classroom.


The first P of Classroom Management is Preparation. Kids tend to get into trouble during transition time. You’re looking for that stack of worksheets and Timmy throws his pencil across the room, setting off a chain reaction of giggles and retaliation while your back is turned. You’re reading the lesson plan and by the time you’re ready to start the lesson, the class’s focus has wandered away. In order to keep transition times short, you must be prepared. The most manageable way to do this is to prepare your day in chunks. Before school, make sure you understand the lesson plans for, and have materials ready for, the lessons between the start of school and recess. During recess, do the same for the lessons between recess and lunch. And during lunch, prepare for the lessons between lunch and dismissal. This means that you are totally prepared, won’t be fumbling with notes, have all copies at hand, and know where all materials are located. If you keep up the pace, the students will have less time to get themselves into trouble.


Who do you want captaining your cruise ship? Someone loud, fumbling, easily flustered or quick-tempered? Of course not! You want to set a tone of calm efficiency in the classroom. You are the captain of this ship!

Start the day by greeting each child warmly at the door, looking them in the eye with a smile.

Give simple, informative directions. Don’t simply tell them “Okay, let’s line up!”. Be more informative! “Row 1, please grab your lunch boxes and walk to the line. Now Row 2.” Students are more likely to follow directions if they know exactly what is expected.

Speak in a soft tone. You want students listening intently. Additionally, if you speak softly, it will keep the volume of the classroom low.


This is one of the easiest ways to manage a classroom, and the one most often overlooked. When we see “classrooms” on TV or in movies, we see a teacher standing behind a podium in front of rows of students. In this lecturing model, the teacher is only in close proximity to the first row of students. As the teacher, we need to make sure we are moving around the classroom. Even if you are lecturing, or reading aloud, make sure to move around the room every few minutes. Walk through the rows, go to students who need help or ask questions, and keep moving. The closer you are to students, the more you can help them stay focused, and cut down on any ‘shananagins’ that might happen when you’re not looking.

With the Three P’s of Classroom Management, you’ll be well on your way to a peaceful, calm day in the classroom! Did you enjoy this article? Contact us!

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