I'm looking for an effective classroom management plan for high school teachers. Mine is:

  • Every student should have a notebook and a pen to take notes.
  • Food, drinks, chewing gums and electronic devices are not allowed in the classroom. If you want to drink you should bring your water bottle with you.
  • You can't joke or act like a clown.
  • Every student should be sitting at his table when the teacher enters the classroom.
  • You can't leave your place without permission.
  • I won't tolerate cheating and plagiarism.

I give it to students on the first day of school. It's a part of the syllabus together with the table of contents, the evaluation schema, the objectives, the materials needed and the methodology.

I'm waiting to see some other classroom management plans, a more exhaustive one.

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Is this specific to mathematics in any way? $\endgroup$ – J W Jul 26 '15 at 13:15
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Before you embark upon this course of action consider what you'll be able to effectively manage. Ask what will I do when student X doesn't comply with rule y? Personally I think some of your rules are likely to lead to unessessary conflict. No joking? Why? I think you'll gain more respect by being yourself having reasonable boundaries. $\endgroup$ – Karl Jul 26 '15 at 17:59
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because It has nothing to do with teaching math, it's asking how to maintain discipline in the classroom. $\endgroup$ – JTP - Apologise to Monica Jul 27 '15 at 1:07
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I don't think this is appropriate for academia, as it asks about managing a classroom of high school students. Judging from the original posters comments, it seems more about crowd control than education. It might be appropriate for a productivity or management forum. As Joe Taxpayer notes, it has nothing to do with teaching math. Gerhard "Not Seeing The Education Connection" Paseman, 2015.07.26 $\endgroup$ – Gerhard Paseman Jul 27 '15 at 5:31
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @AmyB I was putting this book on my reading list until I saw the negative comments by teachers. $\endgroup$ – user5402 Jul 29 '15 at 20:25

Suppose I invite you to dinner. I want you to have the best experience possible. So I will manage things to maximize what I think is this best experience.

Of course, everyone needs a place setting. So I prepare name cards so that you sit at your assigned place. I think I know best who you will like to talk to, so please stay in your seat during dinner.

I think the food should be served in a particular order. So everyone needs to enjoy the same course at the same time. Of course, wasting food is sinful (or socially unacceptable) so we will wait until everyone finishes their course before moving on to the next. You may have water at anytime, but the wine/beverage only does best with certain courses. Please don't drink the wine except during those courses.

Of course, we want to observe proper table manners. My apologies if you are left-handed (or single handed), please use the knife and spoon with the right hand and the fork with the left. We don't want confusion or delay, and keeping diversity to the minimum should enhance everyone's experience, right?

Of course people will need to attend to (ahem) personal matters. There will be restroom breaks between the fourth and fifth courses (not during the fourth course), and between the twelfth and thirteenth courses (not during the twelfth course). A bell will ring to remind you at the appropriate time. Please return to your seats for the beginning of the next course, so that there is no delay.

Regarding discussion, preferably only one person speaks at a time, and every one should pay attention to that person. We will have a microphone-shaped marker to pass around; you will be briefed on its use at the beginning of dinner. The list of topics to talk about will be on the green sheet; the areas to avoid on the red. Don't confuse them!


I could go on, but what I have just done in my enthusiasm to do well is going to turn out to be a recipe for disaster. People will either be too frightened or resentful to contribute, or you will spend too much time attempting to enforce conformity. People will not remember how the food tasted or how delightful and edifying the dinner conversation was; they will remember the farce of attempted "experience management" that you hosted.

This is directly inspired by imagination and by your list. In my (not so humble) opinion, you are concocting a plan for failure.

I agree that certain behaviour is encouraged in a classroom, that there should be rules, that to get things done in an effective fashion and not waste anyone's time, there should be a plan and guidelines. Indeed you should have such a list. However, if you are upfront and promoting the list before the material, I think you are not educating; I think you are (attempting to be) controlling.

There are ways to achieve similar goals, but using a different approach. Show students that this is a relaxed and inviting atmosphere, encourage certain values by actions and behaviour, recruit others to help this encouragement along, teach by modelling, and be forgiving about departures and mistakes. This can encourage confidence as well as the desire to learn. In my view, your list does not do that.

Of course, I'm not in your shoes, and I don't know what your agenda really is. There are situations where your list might be ideal. Certainly I don't disagree with some of the intent behind having such rules. Just remember how easily dinner can go bad, regardless of how first-rate the food and drink are.

Gerhard "Class Over. Time For Snack." Paseman, 2015.07.26

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I was hoping we would hear from Gerhard "No Burping, No Slurping" Paseman :) $\endgroup$ – pjs36 Jul 27 '15 at 12:12
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Most things come to them that wait. Gerhard "Get The Zen Of It" Paseman, 2015.07.27 $\endgroup$ – Gerhard Paseman Jul 27 '15 at 16:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ With all due respect, I think you've taken this analogy too far. You're comparing inviting people to dinner to teaching teenager students a subject that has a bad reputation among them and their parents! There may be some interested students in the class, some who don't care a lot and others who are at school just to have fun. It's YOUR responsibility to make sure that those disturbing students don't affect you, the other students and the atmosphere in your class. $\endgroup$ – user5402 Jul 28 '15 at 9:44
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Cont'd: I've seen a physics teacher with a PhD who quit the job after one week, I've seen some good students failing in a math class because they couldn't concentrate having very disturbing students near them (incidentally, the teacher was explaining everything clearly, but didn't have a management plan so things went down very fast for him and soon enough this teaching position was like a nightmare for him). $\endgroup$ – user5402 Jul 28 '15 at 9:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Karl The teacher was very good. How do I know? I (and many other teachers) attended his class. What if students opinion were different? Well, According to most students (and to students he tutored), he was good but couldn't manage a class with disturbing students. I hope you get my point now. We could discuss education and theories endlessly but when you work on the ground with such students, you'll change your viewpoint. $\endgroup$ – user5402 Jul 28 '15 at 11:39

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.