How to Be Strict With Students — 9 Best Tips for the Classroom (2023)

Classroom management is one of the toughest parts of a teacher’s job. Learning how to be strict with students while still creating a welcoming and warm classroom environment is no easy task.

How to Be Strict With Students — 9 Best Tips for the Classroom (1)

I know that this is something I definitely struggled with when I first started in the classroom. However, after gaining some experience, confidence, and taking the time to research classroom management techniques, I learned how to achieve the right balance of being strict while also creating that classroom environment where all of my students would feel comfortable to take risks and learn.

In fact, I found that when I established myself as the authority in the classroom and laid out strict classroom rules, my students even performed better.

This ties with what a study published in the International Journal of Education Management in 2016 found: students in countries that place a greater emphasis on classroom discipline perform better academically than students in other countries without such strict classroom rules.

If you’ve been feeling your control slipping away and are worried about the direction your classroom is headed, keep reading! I’ll share some of my best tips to help you:

  • Strike a balance between being strict and kind.
  • Learn tips to help you establish your authority in the classroom.
  • Identify ways to set strict classroom expectation for online classes.

Strict or Kind: What Teacher to Be?

Many teachers see the decision between being a strict teacher or a kind teacher as an either/or. But the reality is that you don’t have to choose between being strict and kind as the two are not mutually exclusive.

How to Be Strict With Students — 9 Best Tips for the Classroom (2)

There are benefits associated with being a strict teacher as well as being a kind teacher. Finding a way to merge these benefits will help you deliver the best results for your students.

Some benefits of being a strict teacher include:

  • Motivating students.
  • Helping student achieve their goals.
  • Holding students accountable to high expectations.

Some of the benefits of being a kind teacher include:

  • Showing respect to students.
  • Building relationships with students.
  • Helping students believe in themselves.
  • Giving personal attention to students and celebrating their achievements.

The disconnect lies in the fact that when many people hear the word ‘strict,’ they think mean. But, in reality, a strict teacher is one who lays out clear expectations and holds his or her students accountable.

How to Be Strict With Students — 9 Best Tips for the Classroom (3)

Students need to come to school knowing that they’ll be held accountable for learning, and without a strict teacher to keep them on track, many can veer off the path of success.

Now, I’m not saying that you want to be a mean teacher and make students fear you. This is certainly not the case. Being strict doesn’t mean you have to stop being nice.

This means you need to be fair and consistent. Nancy Barile, a National Board-Certified Language Arts Teacher in a Boston area urban high school wrote:

“Being fair is extremely important to students, and it will prevent them from becoming angry with you when you issue a consequence.”

Establish proper classroom management routines and holding your students accountable is also important when striking the balance between being strict and nice.

Keep in mind this quote from John Kenny a primary school teacher in Australia:

“Of all the students in a school, those that struggle with their behavior need to know what the rules of engagement are. They need the strict approach”

Kenny’s quote stresses the fact that we need to show our students that we are going to hold them accountable and demonstrate our high expectations for them, so that they will begin to hold these same high expectations for themselves.

If you’re a new classroom teacher, interim teach, or SDC teacher, you may find it even more challenging to develop the right balance of being strict and being kind. If you’re interested in learning more about being an interim teacher, you can read this article, and if you’re interested in learning more about being an SDC teacher, you can check out this article.

9 Tips for Establishing Authority in the Classroom

“Sustaining an environment conducive to learning is an obligation we owe to committed learners.”

This quote from Joseph W Trefzger, PhD illustrates the importance of establishing our authority in the classroom; we need to make sure that our instruction reaches our students.

Use the tips below to help you learn how to be strict with students and establish your authority in the classroom.

1. Establish Classroom Rules and Enforce Them Consistently

Students need to know that the rules are the rules and they apply to everyone. One reason defiant students may be more difficult to handle is that they perceive that they are getting singled out for behaviors that are ignored if they are performed by other students.

Watch the video to find Maya Lee’s 5 ways to handle defiant students in the classroom.

2. Acknowledge Students Who Are Meeting Your Expectations

Rather than calling out students who may not be doing what they are supposed to be doing, focus your positive attention towards students who are meeting your expectations. This can help give students a reminder of what they need to be doing.

3. Work for Student Respect, Not to Be Their Friend

While being ‘friends’ with your students may sound appealing, your goal should be to earn their respect. They are much more likely to focus on instruction and put their best effort into their work if they respect you.

How to Be Strict With Students — 9 Best Tips for the Classroom (4)

4. Being Friendly Is OK, Being Familiar Is Not

This relates to the point above: it is fine to show kindness and act friendly with your students. However, what you don’t want to be too familiar and casual with them.

5. Be Aware of Your Body Language

Your words and actions can do a lot to establish that you are the authority figure in your classroom, but you also need to watch your body language. Students will pick up it you look hesitant or nervous, so work to give off a confident presence.

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6. Stand Firm, but Be Fair

Being firm and showing students that you’re going to stand by what you say is important. However, it is also important to make sure that you aren’t being unreasonable.

7. Move Around the Classroom

Rather than teaching from one position, move around. This can help students focus on what you are saying, show students that they shouldn’t try to pass notes or engage in off-task behavior because you’ll be close by, and help you manage loud students by using proximity to encourage them to lower their voices and get back on track with the lesson.

In this video, Maya Lee shares a few effective teaching strategies that have helped me handle my loud students.

8. Give Rewards and Take Privileges

One way to demonstrate your authority is to give positive rewards or privileges to students who are acting appropriately and trying their best. On the other hand, you can also show your authority by taking away privileges from those students who are not meeting your expectations.

9. Pick Your Battles

Finally, remember that it is important to pick which battles are worth ‘fighting.’ Kids will be kids, and some things are probably better overlooked for the good of the classroom as a whole and your relationship with a particular student. Try not to micromanage every aspect of your students’ day.

How to Be Strict With Students — 9 Best Tips for the Classroom (6)

How to Maintain Strict Classroom Guidelines in Online Classes

Being a strict teacher and maintaining control of an online class can seem even more daunting than doing so in the classroom. However, it is certainly possible to be strict and keep control of an online group of students.

How to Be Strict With Students — 9 Best Tips for the Classroom (7)

Here are some tips that I’ve discovered through research and my personal experience with online teaching that may help you:

  • Sound check: Before starting your online class, verify that your microphone is functioning properly. You don’t want to start your class only to discover that you’re having technical difficulties, as this can cause the class to go off the rails before it even begins.
  • Set expectations: Find a quiet and professional area in your home to teach your class from. Set the expectation that students should remain as professional as possible. While it may not be feasible for them to isolate from others in their household, encourage them to sit up at a chair, rather than laying down during class.
  • Create class rules for using the chat box: The chat box can be a very useful feature when used correctly since it allows students to share questions or concerns they may have. But, be sure to set rules about when it can be used and the different acceptable uses for it.
  • Set clear deadlines and hold students accountable: When students are working remotely, it is easier to say “I’ll get to that assignment later.” Don’t let this happen; be clear and firm about when assignments are due and need to be submitted by.
  • Be respectful: Create a classroom climate where you respect each student and they are expected to show the same level of respect to you and the other students in the class.

Useful Resources

Final Thoughts on Establishing Authority in the Classroom

Learning how to be strict with students while still maintaining a positive classroom environment can be challenging. However, it is so essential in setting expectations and helping students achieve.

Establishing authority and making sure your students know the expectations can also be beneficial when you have visitors or guest teachers in your classroom. If you’d like to learn more about what a guest teacher is and how inviting one into your classroom could benefit your students, you can read this article.

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Simona Johnes

Simona Johnes is the visionary being the creation of our project. Johnes spent much of her career in the classroom working with students. And, after many years in the classroom, Johnes became a principal.

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How can I be strict in the classroom? ›

So when soothing my graduate students' fears, I pass on some of her helpful advice as well as tips from my own experience in the classroom.
  1. Be Up-Front and Consistent about the Rules. ...
  2. Make Sure the Personal Stories You Share Are Appropriate. ...
  3. Let Students Know You Can't Keep All Their Secrets. ...
  4. Remember to Listen.

What are the 5 most important classroom rules? ›

Examples of classroom rules:
  • Treat others with respect at all times.
  • Listen to the teacher when s/he speaks.
  • Ask for help when you need it.
  • Be prepared every day with required items.
  • Respect other people's property.
  • Listen and follow directions.
  • Raise your hand before speaking or leaving your seat.
Aug 25, 2022

What are the 4 classroom rules? ›

Here are four rules you may consider implementing in your classroom to help improve student behavior.
  • Rule 1. We are safe.
  • Rule 2. We are respectful.
  • Rule 3. We follow directions the first time.
  • Rule 4. We work hard and try our best.
Jun 29, 2022

What are the 3 C's of classroom management? ›

As you consider some of your most challenging students or classes, think about your approach to classroom management through the lens of these three areas: connection, consistency, and compassion.

What are golden rules in a classroom? ›

So, the moral values fall within categories of being kind, honest, gentle, listen well, working hard, looking after property. Due to this, it is a great idea to clearly depict, discuss and embed these rules with children. This helps children have a clear picture of what good, respectful behaviour looks like.

What are the 5 P's of classroom behavior? ›

They are called "The 5 Ps ," and are: Prompt, Prepared, Productive, Polite, and Position.

What is the 5 to 1 rule in the classroom? ›

Research supports the idea that having five positive interactions to every one negative interaction best supports and sustains constructive student-teacher relationships. This is known as the 5-to-1 ratio.

What are the most important classroom rules? ›

Classroom rules
  • Ask questions.
  • Respect and listen to your classmates.
  • Respect and listen to the teacher.
  • Raise your hand to speak.
  • Be prepared for class.
  • Be quiet when the teacher is talking.
  • Be quiet when classmates are talking.
  • Share new ideas.
Mar 5, 2021

What is the 10 10 classroom rule? ›

This tool helps prevent the number of times students ask to leave the room during important informational times. This is done by implementing the 10/10 rule where students don't leave the room during the first or last ten minutes of class.

What is a good classroom management style? ›

The authoritative approach is the best form of classroom management style because it is the one most closely associated with appropriate student behaviors.

What are the 7 approaches to classroom management? ›

This diversity in learning styles calls for a variety of approaches to classroom management. This study is anchored with the seven primary classroom management approaches: Assertive, Business-Academic, Behavioral-Modification, Group Managerial, Group Guidance, Acceptance, and Success.

How do you deal with chaotic students? ›

If students are disrupting your class, here are some possible ways to handle them:
  1. Ask the students if they have a question. ...
  2. Move closer to the disruptive students. ...
  3. Make a general statement to the class about the disruption. ...
  4. Use an active learning activity.

How do I stop misbehaving in class? ›

What to do
  1. Be steady, consistent and firm.
  2. Acknowledge the feelings of the individual.
  3. Remember that disruptive behavior is often caused by stress or frustration.
  4. Address the disruption individually, directly and immediately.
  5. Be specific about the behavior that is disruptive and set limits.

How do I get my class to respect me? ›

Earning your students' respect requires you to be consistent, keep your word, control your frustration, learn who your students are, be patient, speak in a normal tone of voice, and be kind.

What makes students stand out? ›

Stand-out applications showcase achievement, merit, and previous academic success. Taking honors classes or AP courses can give you a significant advantage. Most colleges generally prefer applicants with a B in an honors program over those with an A in standard courses because it shows initiative.

How can I be a strong teacher? ›

The Top 14 Qualities that Make a Good Teacher
  1. Adaptability. Adaptability is a must for teachers, who need to continuously evaluate what's working for their students — and even more importantly, what isn't working. ...
  2. Empathy. ...
  3. Patience. ...
  4. Engagement. ...
  5. Active Listening. ...
  6. Lifelong Learning. ...
  7. Free of Bias. ...
  8. Respectful Attitude.

How do you handle students in the classroom? ›

8 Tips for Dealing With Problem Students
  1. Keep rules simple and easy to follow. ...
  2. Create effective consequences. ...
  3. Create inspiring rewards. ...
  4. Address your chatterboxes. ...
  5. Don't play into power struggles. ...
  6. Learn to have an effective discussion with an argumentative student. ...
  7. Don't tolerate brooding and sulking.
Sep 8, 2015

How can I be well liked by teachers? ›

You can do lots of things to get a good connection going with your teacher. First, do the obvious stuff: show up for class on time, with all assignments completed. Be alert, be respectful, and ask questions. Show an interest in the subject.

What are 3 rules in your school? ›

1.2 All students should be polite, courteous and well-behaved at all times. 1.3 All students should greet the teachers and visitors when they see them. 1.4 All students should be orderly and self-disciplined at all times. 1.5 All students should be punctual for school and all school activities.

What are some school rules? ›

List of 30 Classroom Rules
  • Arrive on time for class.
  • Raise your hand to speak or volunteer.
  • Follow the dress code of the school.
  • Do not cheat or copy other people's work.
  • Complete all assignments.
  • Listen to the teacher when being spoken to and answer your question.
  • Respect everyone in the class.
Apr 26, 2023

Why is classroom etiquette important? ›

Classroom etiquette is one of the ways in which students and instructors demonstrate respect for one another and the art form. Both instructors and students benefit from a classroom setting that is an active and positive place of learning.

What are the Big 8 classroom management strategies? ›

8 Classroom Management Strategies for the New School Year
  • Relationships, relationships, relationships. ...
  • Set clear and reasonable community expectations. ...
  • Make engagement your priority. ...
  • Make parents partners, not enforcers. ...
  • Fill the space and get interactive. ...
  • Recognize the positive in class. ...
  • Incorporate break times.

How do you promote respectful behaviour in the classroom? ›

Dignity and respect in the classroom
  1. treat each other with dignity and respect.
  2. listen to each others' points of view, recognising that there may be disagreement.
  3. keep discussion and comments on the topic, and off the people.
  4. do not use inflammatory or offensive language, sarcasm, or raised voices.

How do teachers manage behaviour in the classroom? ›

Always acknowledge and reinforce when a child demonstrates good manners. Encourage children to treat others with respect by modelling the desired behaviour. Inform the children of the importance of treating others the same way they like to be treated. Role play various situations to demonstrate appropriate responses.

What is the 3 2 1 method classroom? ›

A 3-2-1 prompt helps students structure their responses to a text, film, or lesson by asking them to describe three takeaways, two questions, and one thing they enjoyed. It provides an easy way for teachers to check for understanding and to gauge students' interest in a topic.

How to be a good student? ›

How to Be a Better Student
  1. Set goals. Goals, both short and long-term, are a great way to measure your success. ...
  2. Adopt and stick to a study schedule. ...
  3. Stay well-rested. ...
  4. Take advantage of educator resources. ...
  5. Healthy study techniques for proper exam preparation. ...
  6. Develop note-taking skills. ...
  7. Extracurricular activities. ...
  8. Study buddies.

What is the rule of 7 teaching? ›

The rule of 7 is simple. Seven words, steps or points are the maximum for optimal memory retention. That means, quick definitions of vocabulary words need to have 7 words or less.

What are the 4 Ps in the classroom? ›

These tools, The Four Ps: Plan; Practice; Patience; and Perseverance, have been part of George Mason University's Team Development and Experiential Learning program for several decades.

What are the top three classroom expectations? ›

Three behavioral expectations you can set in your classroom from the start are when students should be seated, how to show respect to their classmates and teachers, and how to be attentive. Read on for a few tips on how to implement these guidelines and what the benefits will look like.

What are good classroom expectations? ›

  • Walk at all times.
  • Keep hands/feet to yourself.
  • Be kind to others.
  • Use manners.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Allow others to learn.
  • Respect others/property.
  • Complete assigned.

How do you create a clear set of classroom rules? ›

Implement Classroom Norms
  1. Create your own list of classroom norms and present them to the class.
  2. Have students contribute additional items.
  3. Have the class create their own items and decide on the list of norms as a group.
  4. Include these norms in the course syllabus.
  5. Present norms as a contract students must sign.

What is the number one rule in class? ›

Top Classroom Rules

Be kind, polite, and courteous to others. Keep your hands and feet to yourself. Be respectful of classmates, teachers, and property. Listen to the teacher and classmates, and follow directions.

What is the 20 20 rule in school? ›

Teach students (even young kids) the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, students should focus their eyes on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds to protect their vision and create healthy habits.

How do you use the 80 20 rule in school? ›

In simplest terms, about 80 percent of the results come from 20 percent of activities. Just a small number of tasks account for the majority of progress. The key then is to identify those key areas and focus energy there. This 80/20 rule has permeated time management literature and talks; it's honestly not a new idea.

What are the 4 C's of classroom management? ›

Teaching through the lens of the "Four Cs"—critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity—will help us and our students stay essential in an evolving world of work.

How do you motivate students? ›

Tips On How To Motivate Your Students
  1. Become a role model for student interest. ...
  2. Get to know your students. ...
  3. Use examples freely. ...
  4. Use a variety of student-active teaching activities. ...
  5. Set realistic performance goals. ...
  6. Place appropriate emphasis on testing and grading. ...
  7. Be free with praise and constructive in criticism.

Who is a good classroom manager? ›

Good classroom managers like and respect kids, and they show it. They smile. They act like they're happy to be there. They expect kids to make mistakes (and understand when they do), and they appreciate when kids work hard (and tell them so).

What is disrespectful behavior in the classroom? ›

Examples of disrespectful behavior are walking away, talking back, refusing to identify self properly, rude behavior, spitting, and challenging authority. Any student removed from class for being disrespectful will not return to class on the same day as the written referral.

How can I control my classroom without yelling? ›

10 Ways to Get Your Students' Attention Without Yelling
  1. Set and Maintain High Expectations. ...
  2. Establish Regular Routines. ...
  3. Get Quieter, Not Louder. ...
  4. Reset Technique. ...
  5. Install a Wireless Doorbell. ...
  6. Use Call and Response or Clap Back Technique. ...
  7. Use Classroom Lights. ...
  8. Stand in the Middle of the Room.

How do you manage a loud class? ›

  1. Explain Your Plan and Establish Consequences. ...
  2. Grab their Attention from the Start of Class. ...
  3. Use Clapping and Echo Games to Get Their Attention. ...
  4. Stop and Listen. ...
  5. Take Off Quietly with Themes. ...
  6. Choose a Secret Behavior Representative. ...
  7. Praise Students Silently. ...
  8. Develop Empathy in Disruptive Students.
Jun 19, 2020

How do I not stand out in class? ›

Be polite, smile, and do not ignore others or talk about others. Being kind and hardworking will help you. You might not stand out, but you will be happy and enjoy yourself in school. Don't give out your e-mail address or social medias to people you don't know.

How to do class control? ›

Classroom Management Techniques
  1. Understand your students. Get to know each student as an individual. ...
  2. Practice patience with Rational Detachment. ...
  3. Set effective limits. ...
  4. Keep to the schedule you set. ...
  5. Be aware of the causes of behavior. ...
  6. Engage with students. ...
  7. More classroom management resources:
Jan 4, 2021

How do you control a difficult class? ›

10 Ways to Control an Unruly Class
  1. Be the boss. Think of yourself as the commander in chief! ...
  2. Redirect Attention. ...
  3. Let the children call the shots... ...
  4. Give Incentives to Do Their Best. ...
  5. Keep an Eye Out. ...
  6. Establish Consequences for Misbehaving.
Sep 20, 2019

How do you control rude students? ›

Here are a few behavior management strategies those working with oppositional students can implement to avoid power struggles.
  1. Intervene at the first sign of trouble. ...
  2. Address student in private. ...
  3. Plan ahead. ...
  4. Be clear about rules, expectations, and consequences. ...
  5. Remain calm. ...
  6. Praise positive behavior.

How do you deal with rude children in class? ›

Take a trauma-informed approach. Rather than blaming and accusing the student for their behavior, take a step back and consider that they are struggling in some way. Even if we don't know the reasons for the struggles, it's helpful to have empathy always. Be consistent with expectations.

How do you ignore bad students? ›

Planned ignoring is a great technique to use in the classroom to decrease minor misbehaviors from students. It works when the misbehaviors are based in the student's need for attention. By ignoring the behaviors, you are not giving the student the attention they want and eventually the misbehaviors will go away.

How do you escape a boring class? ›

But boring classes are inevitable, so here are some survival tips.
  1. #1. A good night's sleep is the rule of thumb. ...
  2. #2. Eliminate all electronic distractions. ...
  3. #3. Take notes. ...
  4. #4. Study the material in advance. ...
  5. #5. Ask questions. ...
  6. #6. Avoid counting the minute. ...
  7. #7. Brr… ...
  8. #8. Pick the right seat.
May 6, 2022

How do I get the best out of my students? ›

7 Secrets To Getting The Most From Your Students
  1. Believe in your students and communicate this to them. ...
  2. Have high expectations for your students. ...
  3. Ask yourself better questions when students fail. ...
  4. Give students autonomy. ...
  5. Give students responsibility.

How do you control a talkative class? ›

Tips for Dealing with a Talkative Class
  1. Don't Teach Over Student Talking. ...
  2. Less Teacher Talk. ...
  3. Give Students Opportunities to Talk Regularly. ...
  4. Keep Students Engaged and Moving. ...
  5. Have an Attention Getter and Practice the Procedure. ...
  6. Change Up Your Positive Behavior Program. ...
  7. Be Firm and Fair With Discipline. ...
  8. Noise Isn't the Enemy.
Sep 23, 2019

How do you control a chaotic class? ›

Conquer the Chaos: How to Develop Effective Classroom Management
  1. Establishing and teaching class rules.
  2. Offering meaningful praise.
  3. Applying proven behavior management techniques.
  4. Creating and maintaining routines.
  5. Designing engaging lessons.
  6. Managing the physical environment.
  7. Practicing cultural sensitivity.
  8. Staying organized.
Sep 17, 2018

How do you control the students who try to dominate the class? ›

Perhaps the best thing that can be done for most dominating students is to get them that one-to-one attention elsewhere. That could be by getting them a conversation exchange, or by offering them separate one-to-one classes.


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