Classroom Management Series #3: Tips for Reacting in the Moment

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If you’ve kept up with my Classroom Management series to date, you’ll have seen that there are 3 main pillars that need to be mastered in order to enjoy a stress-free classroom:

      1. Creating and implementing systems;

      1. Building relationships; and

      1. Reacting in the moment.

    classroom management

    Reacting in the moment is the one that we often think of as the “real discipline”.


    It’s the least pleasant of the three, but luckily if you put the time and energy into creating and implementing systems and building relationships, you won’t need to spend much time being reactive

    However, there will inevitably be moments when you need to be ready to react in the moment.

    But of course, there are going to be situations where you will need to be ready to react in the moment in order to redirect behavior.

    Keep reading for 6 Tips on How to React in the Moment!

    1) Recognize that ‘consequences’ are NOT necessarily punishments! Consequences are merely actions that you take to redirect behavior. Non-verbal cues, conversations, the suggestion of a walk to re-center…these are all examples of consequences!

    2) When you’re new to a school, it’s helpful to speak to another teacher about the school culture in terms of discipline, just to make sure that you are able to speak to consequences properly.

    3) Think through the scenarios you’re nervous about and plan how you would handle them…what would your worst case scenario be? First, think about how to be proactive to avoid it (Hint, hint! It probably involves creating a system and or/building relationships!). Then, try going over a script in your head about what you could say should it arise.

    4) Decide how you plan to deal with the small stuff. Sometimes teachers will say that you should make a big deal out of the small stuff, because then it’s less likely that you’ll have to deal with the big stuff. I agree with that in terms of rude behaviors, but not everything. For example, if a student has their head on their desk, I’ll quietly suggest they go get a drink of water and will use my judgement to check in with them about how they’re doing later. But that’s me…what small stuff will YOU let slide, and what will you double down on?

    5) Never engage in a head-to-head argument with a student in front of the whole class. Meet with them one-on-one in the hall when you have the chance. Take time if you need it to think about what you want to say. Don’t feel like you have to address something immediately.

    6) Avoid sending a student to the office. It’s always better to keep the situation in your own control if possible.

    classroom management

    If you’d like more guidance in terms of what to in various scenarios, I cover it all in Module 4: Reacting in the Moment of the course What You Wish You Learned in Teachers College: Classroom Management.

    That’s it for my Classroom Management series! I hope that these tips have given you some direction and confidence as you head into the classroom this fall.

    If you have any questions you can email me at or DM me on Instagram @bigredscience!

    Scientifically Yours,


    Interested in other Back-to-School activities? Check out:

    Classroom Management Series #2: Tips for Building Relationships

    Classroom Management Series #1: Tips for Creating Systems

    The #1 Things Teachers Wish They Learned in Teachers College

    How to Guarantee that Your Students Will Remember What They Learn

    The Proven Blueprint to Using Movies in the Science Classroom

    Using YouTube for a Low-Prep Bellringer

    My Favorite Way to Start the Science School Year

    My Classroom Must-Haves

    My #1 Grading Hack

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