How to Control Your Temper

Teachers are human, and humans get angry. When you’re dealing with students, parents, and possibly administrators and colleagues who are experts at pushing your buttons, it’s inevitable. Most of the time, we can deal with it pretty well, but what about if you are not just angry, but furious and in danger of losing it … Continue reading How to Control Your Temper

Why Threats and Punishments Don’t Work

My second grade teacher took the authoritarian approach to classroom management. She had lots of rules and lots of penalties when the rules weren’t followed. For a long time I lived in fear of getting in trouble. The threat of having to stay in at recess and write sentences was enough to make me stop … Continue reading Why Threats and Punishments Don’t Work

When Incentive Programs Backfire

This time of year, I see lots of incentive programs going on. Marbles in a jar to earn a class party. Table points to earn an extra recess. Class money that can be spent at a “store” at the end of the year. Tokens that go into a drawing for big prizes. Incentives can definitely … Continue reading When Incentive Programs Backfire

How to Be a Confident Teacher

This week’s Sanity Boost is in answer to a question that came in as an anonymous response to last week’s survey about topics to include in my upcoming book. If this is your question, THANK YOU for sending it! Question: One thing I see over and over is students honing in on insecurities of new … Continue reading How to Be a Confident Teacher

What If I Totally Blew It?

At the end of the school year, after the books are boxed up, the walls are stripped, and the furniture is stacked, it’s natural to reflect back over the year and think about what went well and what didn’t. Sometimes these memories are invited, and sometimes they sneak up and pounce on you when you … Continue reading What If I Totally Blew It?

What’s the BEST Classroom Management Strategy?

In my role as a substitute teacher, my number one goal is the same as a doctor’s – do no harm. I want the regular teacher to come back the next day with no messes to clean up or discipline issues to resolve, so that the class can move forward as if the regular teacher … Continue reading What’s the BEST Classroom Management Strategy?

7 Strategies to Deal With The Pencil Sharpener

Nghhhhhhhhhhhhh. There goes the pencil sharpener again, right in the middle of a spelling test. No one can hear the spelling words, and I actually feel as if the pencil sharpener is grinding into my skull. “No pencil sharpening!” I screech. So the student sits down and immediately starts bothering everyone around him. He has … Continue reading 7 Strategies to Deal With The Pencil Sharpener

Why Ignoring Misbehavior Won’t Extinguish It

I had just about had it with one of my 3rd graders. All day long it had been one thing after another. Shouting out, clowning around, throwing things, making faces and fart noises, wandering the room… you name it, this student was doing it. I finally just about lost it when he walked up to … Continue reading Why Ignoring Misbehavior Won’t Extinguish It

Why You Need to Spend 6 Weeks Teaching Classroom Routines

I remember the first time someone told me I needed to spend 4-6 weeks (4 to 6 WEEKS!) teaching my students how to do simple things like putting their names on their papers, bringing their notebooks to class, and closing the classroom door quietly. I felt overwhelmed and panicky, and my first thought was, “I … Continue reading Why You Need to Spend 6 Weeks Teaching Classroom Routines

Saving Time on Paperwork and Grading

When my class was out of control, I didn’t get much work out of my students. I was wasting so much time on power struggles, warnings, arguments, and waiting for the class to be quiet that there wasn’t much time left for class work. Once I got my class under control, I started to have … Continue reading Saving Time on Paperwork and Grading