14 Classroom Management Strategies We Can Learn from Mary Poppins

A spoon full of sugar doesn’t even make the list!

It’s easy to quickly get overwhelmed by classroom management techniques, strategies, and methods. This is where I turn to Mary Poppins. Not only is she “practically perfect in every way,” but I also think she totally has what it takes to run a 21st century classroom, using both humor and heart.

1. Be kind but firm

Mary Poppins is clear about her expectations from day one, and, boy, is she consistent!

2. Make sure you have their attention

Wait until you have all your students’ attention before you speak. Use clear language when giving directions.

3. Encourage tidiness

It’s important to set an expectation that students should clean up after themselves. They should treat the classroom and all school materials with respect.

4. Add an element of fun

Class jobs can be fun. Sometimes making a task a game is all it takes to get your students started: set a timer, set a class goal, put on some music, offer a few extra minutes of recess. Always acknowledge a job well done!

5. Be prepared


We teach students to be prepared, and we need to follow this advice, too. It doesn’t hurt to have a bag like this either!

6. Perfect your teacher face

Handed down from one generation of teachers to the next, the teacher face lets students know without a single word that their behavior has gone too far.

7. Don’t be afraid to smile and laugh

You are their role model for all emotions, not just the serious ones.

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8. Learn how to sell it

They won’t buy in if you don’t. Even if you have to make up a fun name or try something new to build excitement, dive in full steam ahead.

9. Always offer support

Be encouraging and supportive to all students’ efforts…and be willing to get down on the ground with them and get a little messy, too!

10. Don’t be a pushover

There are always students who will want to leave the room for every bumped elbow or students who ask to go to the bathroom 18 times a day. Be judicious about allowing students to frequently leave the room, especially if you think they are looking to avoid work.

11. Have a plan for when students act out

Have a plan for how you will handle attention-seeking behavior. Often it makes sense to ignore it, but sometimes you need to quietly let the student know how they are acting is not acceptable.

12. Be ready to handle any comments

Have to have a go-to phrase or two to handle off-topic comments, calling out and those few students who always try to derail your lessons. Or just ignore them in a lot of cases!

13. Save up a little magic

On those days where you’re tired and frustrated, write yourself a cheer-up note or keep a special chocolate stash. It’ll help you keep making the magic happen.

14. Remember tomorrow is always a new day

Know how to take care of yourself at the end of a long day! Then leave it all behind because tomorrow is a clean slate!