5 tips for managing a challenging class

In this last week, after discussing  with several teachers, I am so relieved to know that my experience is not unique to me; so many teachers are experiencing the same challenges with trying to settle in their new classes. Here some of the strategies that I know are working for me right now.

There are about 5 top things I do everyday to keep the class going and focused on learning.

  1. Routines are key.

I call routines; BRILLIANT BASICS. What are your brilliant basics? An example of a brilliant basic is how the pupils come into class at the start of the school day. A routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed. What routine have you put in place for them to follow? Most children thrive on routine. If you are going to change things, let them know. This will help all the children especially those with additional needs as it gives them a sense of security.

  1. Set up early.

This follows on from the first point. Teachers need to be organised to the tee. You may not be well organised personally, but when it comes to teaching you have got to be organised to be successful. Think ahead and set up early. Have all you need ready before the lesson. It will cause less chaos and give you freedom to adapt the lessons as you go on.

3. Consistency.

To be consistent means that you act in the same way over time, especially so as to be fair or accurate. When you are consistent, the children learn to trust you and become more settled. You need to be firm and fair. Whether you are rewarding good behaviour or punishing bad behaviour, be fair. A word of caution about bad behaviour: remember to separate the sinner from the sin. Don’t reduce a child’s self-esteem/confidence to shreds in an attempt to discipline the child. Think restoratively.

  1. Positivity works!

Use praise! Use positive words! According to Daniel Coleman, ‘Happy, Calm Children Learn Best’ I suggest you find reasons to praise in every lesson. Praise their effort, praise use of good manners, praise good work ethic and so on. Just ensure that you are lavish with praising the good things that take place in your class. There are so many reasons to praise and this would build an atmosphere of positivity where the children can thrive.

  1. Celebrate little successes.

Dealing with a challenging class is tough. Forget about what you see in the movies. Those movies do not show in real time, all the hard graft and grime that goes in on a daily basis. It is tough to stay positive all the time when dealing with a challenging class, so learn to celebrate every little progress that you see. Get excited and celebrate when you observe some level of progress in the direction that you want the class to go. The more you do this, the more successful you will become.

Keep doing what you are doing because you are worth it and making a huge difference.


Lots of love,



  1. Do you want to delve further into this and become an expert? Register for this online course on Inspirational Teachers School: https://www.inspirationalteachersschool.org/product-page/positive-behaviour-management-course (Pay by instalments available!)
  2. Join my network of Inspirational Teachers across Africa who are doing extraordinary things learning and growing professionally. You can join here: https://mailchi.mp/64f118ba2461/itn

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