K-12 Educator and Teaching Effectiveness | RAND

Communicating clear expectations and classroom policies at the beginning of the school year is crucial for effective class management. Vague policies can lead to confusion and frustration for both students and parents throughout the year.

It’s also important for educators to be aware of common mistakes they might make with their management skills. Some of these mistakes could have negative consequences for student’s education. For example, micromanaging can stifle creativity and discourage independent thinking, while being too permissive can lead to a lack of structure and discipline in the classroom. It’s important for educators to strike a balance and adjust their management style based on the needs of their students.

Not Being Clear About Communication Expectations

Educators have the important responsibility of setting expectations for their students on the first day of school. This includes reviewing classroom procedures and rules, as well as discussing consequences for any infractions. Additionally, the first week of school is a crucial time for building a sense of community within the classroom. Why not do both at the same time? A great way to achieve both goals at once is to involve the students themselves in the process. By asking questions and allowing the children to voice their opinions on expected behavior and consequences, educators may be pleasantly surprised at the reasonableness of their responses. In fact, children want clear boundaries as it helps all to feel safe in their learning environment.


Consistency is key when it comes to maintaining an equitable and positive learning environment. Students are very observant and will notice if there is any favoritism or inconsistency in the way discipline is meted out. This can lead to feelings of resentment and a lack of respect for the teacher, which can ultimately undermine the learning process.

As an educator, it’s important to establish clear expectations and consequences for behavior from the outset, and to apply them consistently and fairly. This helps to create a sense of structure and predictability in the classroom, which can help students feel safe and secure. When students feel secure, they’re more likely to engage in learning and take risks, which can lead to important breakthroughs and growth.


In addition to consistency, it’s also important to be empathetic and understanding when it comes to discipline. Students are human beings with complex emotions and motivations, and it’s important to take the time to understand why a particular behavior occurred and to respond appropriately. This can help to build trust and rapport with students, which can ultimately lead to a more positive and productive learning environment.

Going Big Too Soon

It is encouraged that teachers should mentor students through progressive discipline within classrooms. Small offences should be dealt with through communication. Often a simple reflection asking, “What are you doing?” followed by “What are the rules?” will help provide a moment for the student to choose to redirect his or her behavior. Another helpful idea is to have a peace corner, or a recovery space, designated for only one student at a time, where he or she can go to get calm. Sharing books about peace and character development can help in this process. Only serious infractions should be met with admin and parent communication. In this way, you create a classroom environment of high-level communication and reveal to the administration that you’ve got this! 


Teachers May Benefit from a Mentor

If you feel like you do not have the capabilities to be an ideal educator or that you need to learn to be better, consider reaching out to the lifelong educator and coach, Jill Bittinger. 


After spending ten years in New York as a Multicultural Teaching and Performing Artist, Bittinger moved to Arizona where she started her career in early childhood and elementary education, specializing in the Montessori Method, uniquely known for its whole child approach to child development. As a certified Montessori teacher, she served as Lead in both Primary (ages 3-6) and Elementary ages for 14 years. She is currently integrating those foundational principles in mainstream elementary education environments as teacher and coach. Author of three books, Bittinger was named in the Top 100 Leaders in Education by the Global Forum for Education and Learning in 2021 and at the Education 2.0 conference in 2022.  As a speaker and panelist in these international conferences, she became well connected with other leaders and gave them voice in her 2022 summit, “Empowering Educators: Transforming Learning Environments through Integrating Mind, Body and Spirit.” This summit is available in an inspiring library of interview with valuable insights into how to create more holistic and engaging learning environments for students. She is continuing her work in connecting educational leaders, new approaches and strategies for teaching.

Jill Bittinger is a knowledgeable and experienced educator who could be a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their teaching skills. The Montessori Method is a well-regarded approach to education that emphasizes hands-on, experiential learning and encourages children to develop their own interests and passions. By working with someone like Bittinger, you could gain valuable insights into how to create a more engaging and effective learning environment for your students, as well as learn new strategies for managing behavior and fostering a love of learning. Whether you’re a new teacher just starting out, or an experienced educator looking to refine your skills, working with a coach like Jill Bittinger could be a great way to take your teaching to the next level.

Overall, Jill Bittinger is a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their teaching skills or transform their learning environment. Her website, https://transformededucation.com/, is worth checking out for anyone interested in learning more about her work and approach to education.