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  • Writer's pictureAdam Meyersieck

Teaching when it's hard

Updated: Apr 29

Routines and strategies can improve behavior and engagement, minimize disruptions, and create the type of ecosystem that allows students and staff to thrive. Legacy Education's Teacher Coaching can help your teaching team to not just survive- but thrive.

Healthy classroom ecosystems have routines and systems that allow students and staff to flourish. These classrooms permit its members to collaborate for meaningful learning experiences, develop and discover learning outcomes, and create resources that support learning in the class community. For some teachers the prospect of a classroom that looks like this is but a dream, but for others it is a (near) reality. Wherever you are on this continuum, there are a number of classroom management strategies that can help you develop your co-constructed classroom.

Planned Transitions

The most challenging behaviors often occur during unstructured transitions, including that small gap of time between lessons and recess, after lunch, etc. This lack of structure can create anxiety of uncertainty for many students, and undesirable behaviors often occur as a result. By planning independent activities ready for students when they return to class, we can create the predictability they need to lower the anxiety levels and give them something to look forward to upon returning.

The 3-Rule... Rule

I’m sure we’ve all been in the classroom where lists of rules line the front of the classroom (if not, consider yourself fortunate). Effective school rules are clear, minimal, fairly applied, and have positive outcomes. Having clear, simple rules like these can create accountability within your classroom where students can support and depend on one other. The best classrooms have a small number of clearly stated rules, and every desirable student behavior will fall under one of these three:

1. Be Safe

2. Be Responsible

3. Be Respectful

When we see a student doing something they ought not do, we can ask them “Is that respectful?” or let them know if it is or not. The same is true for positive behaviors- if a students demonstrates respect, safety, or responsibility, we can acknowledge this through SPIT praise.

SPIT Praise

Students with behavior challenges have a negative script about themselves that plays on repeat in their psyche. It can take years to resolve, but we can help them “flip the script” and give them some SPIT praise to help them recognize their successes and give them a new script. SPIT stands for:

S- specific to a skill or action

P- positively stated

I- instructional, in that it provides detailed information on what they have done well

T- true, in that it is accurate and exact so it can be repeated

Seating arrangement

It is less common nowadays, but seating students (age 10 and older) in rows rather than in groups can actually improve their response participation. (Kem & Clements, 2007). This seating may not encourage immediate group discussion, but desks can be easily re-arranged for these types of lessons and give you greater flexibility.

Teacher Coaching Using a person-centered approach, Legacy Education provides a listening ear and specific strategies to help your teams discover the best version of themselves and work to establish new ways of thinking about classroom challenges. We do so by:

  • Building on what's positive

  • Discovering ideals

  • Implementing ideal outcomes

If you are interested in Teacher Coaching to help you or your staff develop routines and systems that work for all students, don't hesitate to get in touch!


Kern, L., & Clemens, N. H. (2007). Antecedent strategies to promote appropriate classroom behaviour. Psychology in the Schools, 44(1), 65- 75.

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