Many first-year teachers are often excited to implement a creative curriculum, teach critical thinking, and make the most of their classroom. An additional and important “new teacher must” is learning the basics of classroom management. This can be a tremendous undertaking, especially in technology-laden classrooms. It’s necessary to keep students on task whether they’re collaborating online over tablets or working on projects individually.

Here are three simple tips for new teachers to create a firm structure of classroom management and discipline:

Plan Lessons Thoroughly

An effective lesson plan is perhaps the most important way of instilling a natural sense of classroom management. Students are prone to lose focus during periods of undefined classroom time, so preparing activities that utilize the entirety of the class period will help students remain on task. Students who grow bored or have excess time with no distinct purpose are more likely to distract one another and bring a sense of disarray to your classroom. It’s always better to have a lesson plan that takes up too much time, rather than one that doesn’t fill the entire instructional period. This way, students will be getting the most out of their time with you. When you construct lessons that rely heavily on technology, make sure they keep students actively engaged. This will help ensure that students use tablets, laptops and other devices to their fullest.

Encourage Self-Regulation

When you give instructions or observe students off task, don’t try to speak over them. Let students quiet one another. Implementing a countdown method or other silent means of quieting students allows them to take responsibility for their own learning. Students will naturally quiet one another so you can give them further instructions, and you won’t have to shout. Furthermore, if an incentive structure is added to this practice, it encourages students to refocus faster, benefiting their learning.

Nip Behavior Issues in the Bud

Address behavior problems quickly and with composure. If a student is having particular problems staying on task or disrupting class, previously set signals between you and the student or quietly approach the student and discuss the situation in a private manner. Rather than focus on what the student did wrong, you may ask if there’s anything you can do to help resolve the problem. Emphasize that you value their success and care about helping them do well in class.