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How to Behave In Class

Three Parts:Learning the RulesStaying on TaskAvoiding Trouble

Some students find themselves constantly in trouble at school. There are so many ways to become distracted, and you are hardly alone! If you have trouble paying attention, sitting still, and are getting constantly called out by your teacher, you can still learn to follow the rules and channel your energy into becoming a better student.

Part 1
Learning the Rules

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    Follow the Expectations. Learning requires behavior that lets you fully participate in the lesson, and allow other students to do work as well. A good student is one that is prepared, active, safe, interacting, and helping. In the first few days of school the expectations are generally made quite clear either verbally, in a syllabus, or written in an agreement. In general, the expectations are:
    • Listen to your teacher and follow instructions. If you want to behave better in class, the first place to look for help is your teacher. Always do what the teacher tells you during class time. Listen closely to your teacher's instructions, when they tell you to be quiet, to start or stop working, to line up, or do anything else. If you listen the first time, you likely will not have to ask later.
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    • Be Quiet. Typically, any time after class has started, it is time to be quiet. Save the things you want to say to your friends for later. If you have a question about an assignment, raise your hand when appropriate to ask, write it down to yourself and ask the teacher later.
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    • Avoid sitting with friends that get you in trouble. One of the common ways a student gets loud and disruptive is talking with friends. Sit up front to avoid the temptation to chat during class if you can. There's plenty of time to socialize at recess and lunch and after school. It’s also good to avoid bullies and "fr-enemies" other people who can tempt you into misbehavior. (You can talk to your teacher about this, and maybe pretend that you "have to" sit where you do, to take social pressure off of you.)
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    • Be on time. You need to be in the building when school starts, and you need to be in your seat when class starts. If you're struggling to make it to class on time, looking into time organization skills, material organization skills, and figuring out how much time you really need for transitions.
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    Raise your hand if you want to speak. If you have a question, or you have something you want to say, don't just shout it out or direct it at your neighbors. Raise your hand, wait to be called on, and then speak when you've been given permission.
    • Have something specific and brief to say, so you're not wasting class time rambling. The most appropriate time to raise your hand and speak is when you have a question that other students might have, as well. "What pages are we supposed to read for tomorrow?" and "How do you find the lowest common denominator?" are both appropriate questions.
    • Inappropriate questions include things that are particular only to you, or things that are off-topic. "Why did I get a D?" or "What do you think of LeBron James, Miss Johnson?" are probably both inappropriate (albeit maybe interesting or funny) questions for class. If you want to talk to your teacher about these things, write down your question, and wait until after class.
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    Work during work time. If you're given class time to do homework, make sure you use that time doing homework, not as free time. That means work on the assignment that you're supposed to work on.
    • Don't work on homework for other classes during work time, unless you've been specifically given permission. If you're given time to work on a group project, don't withdraw from the group and sit working on your math homework. You're wasting work time, and the time of others.
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    Talk to your teacher. Just letting your teacher know you are trying will go a long, long way! He or she can help come up with a way to improve together. Teachers can help modify the class, such as making clear prompts to what you are supposed to do, or avoiding embarrassing situations which may make you act out.
    • If you've got a reputation as a trouble-maker, many teachers will be impressed if you're sincere about wanting to be better in class. Making the effort to talk to your teacher is a good first step in changing the way your teacher looks at you.
    • Get to know your teacher! Your teacher is a person--not just a teacher! He or she has interests, feelings, and opinions. Getting to know your teacher as an individual may make it easier to listen and respond to him or her. Also, your teacher may get to know you as a person, too! This rapport can make working together a lot easier.
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    Talk to your parents or guardian. Admitting you have an issue does not mean you are a bad person; you recognize you have a problem. And there are many reasons a student may have behavioral issues. Parents can do a lot in working with the school to get the help you need. It may be as simple as working with your teacher, to testing for Attention Deficit Disorder, to perhaps looking into a charter school.
    • Charter schools, challenge programs, and other kinds of alternatives may be a better fit for you, if you're struggling with your behavior. Talk to your parents about the possibility of switching schools. If your parents are unwilling to listen, talk to a guidance counselor at your current school about the possibilities.

Part 2
Staying on Task

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    Use your imagination and decide to like the topics. If you have trouble paying attention and staying on task, changing your attitude can help a lot. Instead of rolling your eyes and groaning every time you have to learn history, work on your handwriting, or do math problems, try to use your imagination to make the tasks cooler and more fun. It might sound stupid, but pretending your schoolwork is fun can actually make it fun.[1]
    • Don’t “do your math,” pretend to be a rocket scientist learning to plot the paths of rockets, or an astronaut trying to plot your course home from the planet Zebulon 4. Pretend that you're Albert Einstein, cracking the secrets of nuclear energy.
    • Don't "practice handwriting," pretend that you're translating secret messages from a mysterious government agency, or that you're learning to speak Klingon.
    • Don't "do your reading," imagine that you're a famous author preparing to give a lecture in front of a crowd of adoring fans, or that you're a supercomputer uploading information into its positronic net.
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    Take notes. One great way to keep yourself focused on the class topics and the lesson is to take notes. Even if you'll be provided with a review, or you don't eventually need the information for the test, if you struggle to pay attention, focus on writing down the important things the teacher says. Don't worry about writing it word for word, just try to come up with a list or an outline of the important things that happen in class. This will help you stay focused and you'll have something to refer to later.[2]
    • Taking notes can also help you improve your handwriting, which can help your grades improve and your relationship with your teacher a lot better. No one wants to read chicken-scratches.
    • Don't worry about listening to the whole lesson at once, just focus on catching the next important thing the teacher says. Go one step at a time.
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    Be prepared for class. You can't stay focused if you don't have all the necessary supplies ready, and you're in your seat on time. There's nothing worse for your classroom reputation than forgetting your math textbook, or having to ask for a pencil or a piece of paper that you forgot to bring. For each class, it's usually important to have:
    • The textbook or books for the specific class
    • A pencil, ink pen, or other writing utensil
    • Enough loose paper or notebook paper to take notes or complete an assignment
    • A folder or binder for class materials
    • Your homework, fully completed
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    Get involved in the class discussions. If you're not in the habit of contributing during class time, try to change up your habits. Raise your hand if you know the answer, and talk during discussions in class if they're going on. Don't talk just to talk, but try to find a way to engage with the topic and the other students in your class, rather than sitting there being bored, or causing trouble.[3]
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    Make yourself improve your grades. Just like changing your attitude about enjoying your classes, making an active choice to improve your grades can be an important first step in actually getting better grades. If that happens, you might be more invested in the class because, getting good feedback and seeing the results of your hard work.
    • If you're struggling, find out about tutoring or homework help available at your school. Many schools have free tutoring programs after school that are available to students who want to improve their grades and get a little help, which everybody needs sometimes.

Part 3
Avoiding Trouble

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    Make good friends. At school, your friends will have a big influence on your behavior. If your friends are cutting up in class, getting in trouble, and joking around, it'll make it a lot more difficult for you to be on your best behavior. Try to make friends with kids who want to succeed in school, who are well-behaved, and who are fun to hang out with.
    • The class clowns will always stand out, but that doesn't mean that these students are the best kind of friends you could make. Look to the quiet kids and try to hang out at recess, or sit with someone you don't normally talk to during lunch to find out if you get along.
    • Don't be afraid to tell your friends that you can't sit next to them because you don't want to get in trouble. If your friends are true friends, they'll understand your desire to avoid getting into trouble and support you.
    • Sit still. But if you want to behave in class, it's very important that you learn to relax and pay attention to stay on task. The best way to do this is to focus on sitting still. Don't fidget, mess around with the items in your desk, or bother your neighbors. Just sit quietly and listen to the lesson.
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    Have lots of fun outside of school. For some students, going to school is the only time to see friends, making it much more tempting to joke around and act out when you're supposed to be studying. To avoid that temptation, try to make a point of hanging out with your friends a lot on the weekends, after school, and at more appropriate times. If you're so busy having fun, you might even start to look on school as a chance to finally sit quietly.
    • Ask your parents to join up with a sports team or other club if you want to have something to do after school. Chess clubs, music clubs, and lots of organizations are available to students looking to get involved and stay busy having fun outside of school.
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    Keep your cell phone somewhere you can’t get to it. Checking your cellphone is a big no-no in almost every classroom, but it can be so tempting to look! If you just can't stand the thought of leaving those Facebook updates alone, do yourself a favor. Make it impossible. Drop your phone off in your locker before you go to class, so you won't be able to check it even if you want to, or consider leaving it at home. If you absolutely have to keep it with you, shut it off completely.
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    Get enough rest before school. Being tired can make lots of students irritated and more prone to misbehavior, including acting out, messing with friends, and even falling asleep in class. Being tired also makes it a lot more difficult to learn effectively. If you get a full night of sleep, though, you'll be ready to meet the day and pay attention in class.
    • A sleep study at the Harvard Medical School concluded that more sleep means better memory retention.[4] After being asked to memorize a series of random words, respondents who slept more the night before scored more highly on the test. If you want to improve your behavior and your grades, get more rest.
    • Don't keep your cellphone next to your bed. Lots of kids–up to 10% according to the National Sleep Study–are awakened regularly and distracted in the middle of the night by texts and Facebook updates on cellphones, making it difficult to settle down and fall asleep. If you're struggling with tiredness throughout the day, keep your cell out of reach.[5]
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    Eat a good lunch. Too often, it's easy for students to drink a soda or eat some candy during lunch period, because cutting the eating short makes it easier to hang out with friends. This can mess with your blood sugar levels, though, making it much more difficult to pay attention in the afternoon. If you want to keep your energy up and your attention level high, it's important to eat a healthy meal in the middle of the day.
    • Falling glucose levels are linked directly to a release in adrenaline, meaning that when your blood sugar dips, your body makes up for it hormonally by running on more adrenaline, making you more irritable and restless.[6]
    • Try your best to avoid the candy and the soda during lunch. Getting all geared-up on sugar means you'll crash in a few hours, making it very difficult to behave in the afternoon.
    • If you don't like the meals at your school, take some time in the morning to pack a good lunch that you'll enjoy eating. try to eat some fresh fruit and vegetables, like an apple, carrot sticks, or other healthy snacks you enjoy eating.


  • Don't say your teachers name out loud. Raise your hand first.
  • Don't interrupt while someone else is speaking to the teacher.
  • Always pay attention to the teacher. Don't distract yourself by doing things such as drawing on your notebook.
  • Don't bring distractions, such as marbles or collector's cards, to your class.
  • Sitting in the front row can be a useful technique. It makes it easier to pay attention.
  • Remember those pupils who misbehave won't get good grades or good jobs and a positive future.
  • Sit next to someone who'll concentrate on their work that way you will concentrate.
  • Don't speak to anyone when your listening to the class.
  • If you are having trouble with you're table group tell the teacher to move you or if you have a friend that sits in that table group next to you move to another table far away from people likely to distract you. Make sure it's someone you don't know and behaves well.
  • Don't answer back to the teacher.
  • Don't give attention to nonsense people in school, it will only cause trouble.
  • If you misheard the statement, ask the teacher to repeat it.


  • Do not sit with friends, especially if you usually get in trouble. Even if you're not a troublemaker, the act of not sitting with your friends reduces the urge to talk and mess around.
  • If someone is trying to get your attention, tell them that you're not interested, or better yet, ignore it.
  • Keep yourself more interested in your work and what you're supposed to being doing than other people around you.

Remember, some teachers are strict and you must abide with her standards. Try to keep low profile or be discreet yet behave and be a good student.

  • Change your ways quickly.

Things You'll Need

  • All necessary supplies for that class.
  • Motivation

Article Info

Categories: School Discipline