The Power of Effective Routine

I’m about to start a series on my YouTube channel called “Students’ Corner” which is a result of an online survey I asked my past students to answer. The four-part series aims to let my viewers know more about me, especially the way I conduct my classes, by reading and reacting to my students’ responses (without mentioning their complete names for their privacy and protection), and also discussing the classroom routines and activities they mentioned in the survey.

After going over the responses to the survey, I noticed that most of the things that the students remember about me are those related to routine. This has me thinking that, maybe, my routine has been laid down quite successfully and implemented consistently. So in this article, I will be sharing about how to establish an effective classroom routine.

1. Know your teaching style.

The biggest consideration for having an effective classroom routine is knowing what kind of teacher you are. You have to know what kind of relationship you want to establish with your students which, as a result, will determine the way they should respond to you.

I, for example, believe I am a systematic teacher. I like the flow of events in my classroom to be smooth from start to finish, as much as possible. They know, since day one, that because I like order, I’m surely going to be strict with implementing classroom rules. And because of this, my students’ expectations about me are managed, and they are inclined to be organized as well if they want to get along with me.

2. Plot and revise your routine.

All teachers know how important it is to have a plan. After figuring out your style, plot a routine that will fit that. There are several activities that happen in the classroom every day. What are the students supposed to do as soon as you enter the room? What are the things they have to do before a test? How would you want them to pass their papers? You have to have a step-by-step process for all those, and let the students know of them.

For example, as soon as I enter the room, I start by saying “I will go around in 10 seconds.” This directs students to arrange their chairs, pick up trash, and keep things that are not related to the subject, among others. Within this time, I also set-up the things I need, such as my laptop being connected to the TV screen, and the hand-outs being laid out on the table. After the ten seconds have elapsed, I go around to check the room, before I greet them and ask them to take their seats. As soon as they are sat, I ask them to bring out their lecture notebook, or whatever materials they need for the day. When all of them are prepared, that’s the time I will proceed to the actual flow of the lesson.

These steps are not the same as the ones I used to follow during my first year of teaching. Over the years, I discover new ways to improve my routine based on the students’ responses. So, it’s good to revisit your routines at the end of each year to fine-tune them as you see fit.

3. Be consistent.

Routine is only effective if it is steadily implemented. In the beginning, it’s not going to be as smooth and easy, since students need time to get a hang of the steps. It’s the teacher’s job to maintain the routine, and at first, repeat the instructions again and again, until it becomes so deeply ingrained in them. Soon enough, with patience and consistency, there will come a time that, even if you don’t speak, they’d know what to do.

I explain routines to students on the first day of classes. During that session, I lay down all my classroom rules, and simulate situations to apply the classroom routines. I make sure to give them opportunities to exercise these routines, with my guidance, in the first few weeks. Then, slowly, I ease up on specific instructions and switch to prompts. Half-way through the school year, they’ve surely mastered them all, which is why a one-sentence prompt makes them three or more things I expect them to do.

4. Get students’ feedback.

It’s always best to hear from clients to know how effective you have been in delivering your services. It’s one thing to know if the routine was effective for you, and it’s another to know if it was helpful for the students. Try to find a way to have the students comment on and evaluate your routine. This will help you revise what you need to revise, improve what you need to improve and retain what you need to retain.

With technology nowadays, it’s quite easy to do this. I use Google Forms to make online surveys for students to evaluate me, either quarterly or annually. All input that they give, whether positive or negative, surely helps me tweak my style a bit to fit my students’ needs and interests, as well. As a result, I feel like they help me become a better teacher than I have been.

All of this may sound like my classroom is perfect. It’s not; it will never be. Teachers are humans, too, and there will be days when we are not our best selves. And given the class size in the Philippines, there is also an average of 40 different personalities that you have to deal with every hour of a school day. There is always room for human error. But, with a well-defined classroom routine, you can have a sense of order in this world of chaos.

25 thoughts on “The Power of Effective Routine”

  1. Consistency is one virtue any teacher must be having especially in a classroom teaching setting nowadays. With the growing popularity among students of their “rights” in unhealthy manners, teachers’ consistency will face challenges that, if they are not really prepared, they may fail and fall into being a mediocre and let those students, especially in lower sections, have their ways, simply to avoid confrontation!

  2. Your pointers also apply generally to us in the corporate world. Establishing the work style then adapting the culture to creating innovations are the common routines. Being an educator, having a productive and supportive teaching consistency would make you stand out among others – I think you would gain much respect and understanding to the majority from your students. Hard to do, but the sowing time is great.

  3. I’m a teacher and yes all of those are important. But like what you said, it will never be perfect. What worked in the other class may not be effective in the next class. It is also important that a teacher knows how to switch techniques and strategies and these skills take time to master.

  4. I have big respect for all the teachers who find creative ways to teach their students even in the midst of crisis. I am happy to see that teachers are now stepping out in the social media to reach out and educate…:) goodluck!

  5. I saw this even before you posted this in Bloggers Ph. May bet pa ako na part sa blog mo, I will make use of that as inspiration. Goodluck sa ating mga guro! Fighting!

  6. I really couldn’t fathom how teachers can be so selfless human beings. I remember my favorite teacher in Elementary, she was so kind and considerate. In this age, technology has made their jobs easier, and they deserve that. Great to read some of your routines.

    1. Totoo po technology has made some parts of our jobs easier. Perontonbe completely honest po, it’s making teaching this younger generation more challenging to teach kasi they are born to technology, while tayo nag-eexplore lang.

  7. yes. i believe that you can be a more effective teacher if you spend time preparing ways on how to makeyour lessons more fun. most especially if you are teaching the younger age group.

    1. I teach high school po, and I think it’s really a challenging time for the students because they’re in the middle of being kids and trying to grow up. But it’s true po, fun is always an important element, no matter what kind of class.

  8. I was once a student teacher way back college. And one thing I always ask them was how was I as a teacher. If I’m efficient or not. Thank God dahil wala namang negative thoughts akong narinig. I think, we just have to be innovative.

  9. My dad was a teacher and I know how hard it is to be one. Kaya kudos! Will share this to my friends who are new to teaching and will bookmark din, coz I’m planning to teach in the future.

  10. I used to be a shadow teacher in a school in QC. I agree with this list especially with getting their feedback. All of my former students are in college now and some of them went back to South Korea but we still keep in touch.

  11. These are really helpful especially for those who want to become a teacher. I think finding your teaching style is important. Students can be confused if there many teaching styles and if one is not consistent.

  12. These are really helpful especially for those who want to become a teacher. I think finding your teaching style is important. Students can be confused if there many teaching styles and if one is not consistent.

  13. Plotting and revising routine is also useful for study habits. I have a maintaining grade and what I do to keep up with my academics as I spend almost the whole day in my theatre organization is to master a routine, find out what I lack, and revise my routine.

  14. I am also a teacher — a college instructor, and this routine practices has been part of my 4 years in the academe. Great insights and tips for those who are going to teach as well, and also who seeks for the betterment in the field. Keep Teaching maam!

  15. Consistency is very important and your advice is very helpful. These can be applied to blogging as well.

  16. you have a very clear guide to be an effective teacher – having an effective routine. and I like it that you include student’s feedback and I got to watch that video, too.

  17. Wow, i remember teachers like you when i was in school. I always respected them and admired their structure. I felt like having that routine and organization makes it easier to follow along and digest the lessons. Haha

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